Netanyahu urges trial for Iran leader, fearing new Holocaust
AFP | January 25, 2007
Former Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu called Thursday for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to be put on trial to prevent what he warned could be a new Holocaust by a nuclear-armed Iran.
Comparing events in Iran to those of Nazi Germany in the 1930s, Netanyahu told BBC radio he was here as part of efforts to raise international support for such a trial.
Both Britain's ruling Labour Party and opposition Conservative MPs "are trying to drum up support here in Britain, a country ... that finally stood up against another hateful apocalyptic, hateful fanatic sect and ended up stopping it," he said.
He added he was also trying to drum up support within the United States for a trial.
"Right now people have to understand that the combination of unbridled fanaticism of the militant Islamic government of Iran and its attempts to arm itself with nuclear weapons as it prepares another Holocaust, as it denies the previous Holocaust, is something unconscionable," he said.
"Men and women of conscience have to stop it," Netanyahu said.
"One of the ways of stopping it is to bring Ahmadinejad to trial because he has expressly violated a 1948 convention against genocide which outlaws not only the action of genocide but the incitement to genocide," he said.
When asked why Iran should comply with UN resolutions when Israel has flouted those concerning the Palestinians, Israel's former ambassador to the United Nations replied that "the UN General Assembly resolutions are that the world is flat.
"These are not binding international conventions," he said.
Netanyahu left the door open for Israel to take unilateral action against Iran, but only after diplomacy and eventual economic sanctions are given "a chance."
"I think those have to be tried before stiffer action is required," he said.
Asked how long he would give for diplomacy and economic sanctions to work, he replied: "The real timetable that you have to ask is when does Iran develop nuclear bombs."
He cited estimates by Israel's domestic intelligence agency Mossad that Iran could develop nuclear weapons in three years.
Diplomats in New York said Tuesday that the United States is circulating at the UN General Assembly a proposed resolution condemning any denial of the Holocaust as increasing the risk that such a terrible historic event could be repeated.
According to several diplomats, the draft resolution, which does not name any country, was inspired by the behavior of Iran, where Ahmadinejad has publicly denied repeatedly that the Holocaust occurred.
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