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'Cartoon bomb' antic leaves UNGA gobsmacked

Last updated on: September 28, 2012 15:34 IST

'Cartoon bomb' antic leaves UNGA gobsmacked

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Subtlety is not exactly the strong point of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. And the Obama administration learnt this the hard way when, during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, Netanyahu carried a cartoon bomb with him to the dais.

Netanyahu used the cartoon -- of a spherical bomb with a fizzling fuse – to take his anti-Iran rhetoric to a new level. He claimed that Iran had already finished 70 per cent of the uranium enrichment that is needed to build a nuclear weapon.

Iran could have a nuclear weapon ready by next spring or summer, claimed the Israel PM, and urged the United States administration to take action before it was "late, too late".

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Image: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds an illustration describing Iran's ability to create a nuclear weapon as he addresses the 67th United Nations General Assembly
Photographs: Keith Bedford/Reuters

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'Cartoon bomb' antic leaves UNGA gobsmacked

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To illasutrate his point, Netanyahu drew a thick red line across the cartoon, between the bomb's second stage and final stage. He emphasised that the threat posed by Iran needed to be curtailed and a red line had to be drawn to stop its nuclear programme.

Israel has repeatedly threatened military action against Iran, declaring that it would not hesitate to attack first if Tehran continued with its nuclear plans. The Jewish nation believes that it would be on top of the target list, if and when Iran deploys its nukes.

To make matters worse, Iran has openly dared Israel to take military action against it and stated that the Holocaust -- which led to the deaths of millions of Jews during the Second World War --  is a myth.

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Image: Netanyahu draws a red line on a graphic of a bomb
Photographs: Lucas Jackson/Reuters

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'Cartoon bomb' antic leaves UNGA gobsmacked

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Netanyahu's 'red line' speech may end up being the highlight of the UNGA. But the United States administration, under President Barack Obama, is unlikely to be amused by the Israel PM's latest attention-grabbing tactic.

Netanyahu is sending a clear message to the US and other Western powers -- do something to stop Iran or we will. But the Obama administration, which is barely months away from the Presidential election, cannot afford to get sucked into another military conflict right now.

Israel is one of America's closest allies and if it decides to wage war against an errant Iran, the Obama administration cannot remain a mute spectator. The powers-that-be in the US are trying to avoid a military conflict by slapping severe restrictions on Iran and urging Israel to practice restraint.

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Image: Netanyahu addresses the 67th United Nations General Assembly
Photographs: Lucas Jackson/Reuters

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'Cartoon bomb' antic leaves UNGA gobsmacked

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US and Israel have agreed to maintain close consultation and cooperation on the Iranian issue to achieve their shared goal of preventing Tehran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held a meeting with Netanyahu in New York and had an in-depth discussion on Iran.

His one-on-one meeting with Clinton in New York lasted for 75 minutes, a Senior State Department official said.

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Photographs: Reuters

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'Cartoon bomb' antic leaves UNGA gobsmacked

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"They had an in-depth discussion on Iran, and reaffirmed that the United States and Israel share the goal of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. They agreed that we will continue our close consultation and cooperation towards achieving that goal," the official said.

"They discussed regional developments and the peace process. It was an open, wide-ranging constructive conversation," the Senior State Department official said.

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Photographs: Reuters

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