Netanyahu to address UN General Assembly in September, likely to see Obama

PM says he wants to tell world about ‘Iranian regime of terror, the greatest threat to world peace’; meeting with US president would reduce chance of strike at Iran before then

Raphael Ahren is a former diplomatic correspondent at The Times of Israel.

President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House in March 2012 (photo credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO/Flash90)
President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House in March 2012 (photo credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is to fly to New York at the end of September to speak at the United Nations General Assembly.

He is likely to meet with US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the GA to discuss with him further action to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Israeli sources said.

According to some analysts, a meeting with Obama at the end of September would mean that it is highly unlikely that Israel would launch a unilateral strike at Iran’s nuclear facility before then.

In a statement Thursday, Netanyahu denounced the Non-Aligned Movement conference, and slammed the international community for its silence in the face of Iran’s “blood libel” against Israel.

“Today, representatives of 120 countries in Tehran heard a blood libel against Israel,” Netanyahu said, referring to a speech earlier Thursday by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at a summit of the Non-Aligned Movement. “This silence has to stop. Therefore I am going to the UN General Assembly, to tell the nations of the world in a loud and clear voice the truth about the Iranian regime of terror, which constitutes the greatest threat to world peace.”

Khameini attacked Israel in a speech before 120 delegates to the 16th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, currently taking place in the Iranian capital.

“Political and military leaders of the usurping Zionist regime have not avoided any crimes,” Khameini stated, “from killing the people, destroying their homes and farms and arresting and torturing men and women and even their children, to humiliating and insulting that nation and trying to destroy it in order to digest it in the foul-eating stomach of the Zionist regime, to attacking their refugee camps in Palestine itself and in the neighboring countries where millions of refugees live.”

Netanyahu will leave for New York after the Yom Kippur fast day, on September 27, and return to Israel three days later, before the onset of the Sukkot holiday.

Israeli media has been speculating in recent weeks that Netanyahu and Obama might meet, to try to reach agreed positions on thwarting Iran’s nuclear drive.

The two last met in March, when Netanyahu traveled to Washington for a meeting of the America Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

The General Assembly begins on September 26.

Netanyahu has reportedly sought to carry out a military strike before Iran’s weaponization program crosses a threshold of no return, and reportedly wanted US backing for such an action.

A number of top American officials have visited Israel in the last several months, ostensibly to dissuade Israel from carrying out a strike on Iran.

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