Sunday, June 10, 2012

Netanyahu: The Iranian nuclear program has not slowed down by one millimeter.

Following his King Bibi' moment on the front page of the TIME magazine and a extensive personal profile in Vanity Fair, PM Benjamin Netanyahu sat down with BILD reporters Kai Diekmann and Julian Reichelt at his residence in Jerusalem, for an extensive wide range interview.

Exclusive Interview with Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel

Below are some excerpts:

Arab Spring: 
"With the convulsion that is described as the “Arab spring” is concerned we can only hope that these first free elections will be followed by many free elections. That’s a big test. However, free elections are just one aspect of democracy. You also need the right to demonstrate without being mowed down as is happening very tragically and savagely in Syria. It is not obvious that the result will produce a pluralistic, open, enterprising democracy but we can only hope that will be the case – that is my hope. However, I never confuse hope with reality."

"The Iranian nuclear program has not slowed down by one millimeter. Despite all the pressures that were applied to it. Nothing."

"We certainly would prefer that all these economic sanctions produce a result. But you have to understand how atomic weapons are made. The most critical part is to fill the bomb with explosive material which in this case is called fissile material. To prepare that material is very hard, it takes a long time. Most of the significant part to prepare this atomic TNT is to enrich uranium at a low percentage of enrichment. Iran has that already. The higher up you get is much faster. What they are being asked now to do is not stop filling the canister, not to stop enrichment, not to take away the material – all that is not being asked, not even shut down the underground nuclear bunker in Qom that they tried to hide from the world. The Iranians were only asked to stop 20 percent enrichment of uranium. That doesn’t stop their nuclear program in any way. It actually allows them to continue their nuclear program."

"There should be three clear demands: One, stop all enrichment high and low. Second, remove all material that has been enriched from Iran. Third, dismantle, the underground nuclear bunker in Qom. If they really want nuclear power for peaceful purposes, as they claim, they should agree. The reasons they don’t agree is that they are pursuing atomic bombs. We cannot deceive ourselves when we are discussing atomic bombs in the hands of the Ayatollahs."

"I can understand the concern with people about military action. It is obviously not the first choice of anyone. But I also know the importance to make sure the Ayatollah regime does not have nuclear weapons. The greatest threat facing humanity is a radical Islamist regime meeting up with nuclear weapons. The Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons would be infinitely more costly than any scenario you can imagine to stop it."

US-Israel relationship and Election 2012:
BILD: The United States still is the most important broker in the Middle East peace process.Under the presidency of Barack Obama not much has moved, your relation with him is reported to be tense. Would Mitt Romney be the better president for Israel?

Netanyahu: I have enough to do with politics in Israel and I certainly don’t want to enter the American political arena. There is a very strong bond between the American people and the Israeli people. The main support Israel is getting is from non-Jewish Americans who see in Israel a bastion of democracy, in the midst of what is sometimes a very violent and dark place. We face our challenges as a free society. Israel in many ways is the beginning of Europe and the forces of militant Islam that are crashing against us are ultimately directed against you. They want to subordinate the entire Middle East, maybe the entire world, to their medieval conception that has no place for the freedom of women, the liberties of minorities, gays. They want Israel to be eliminated in order for them to continue the march against you. So Israel is the frontal bastion of European and western civilization.