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The Iranian Red Line (in One Chart)

At the United Nations this afternoon, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu sought to clarify an issue that has confounded President Obama for months — where to place “red lines” on Iran’s nuclear program — by using one simple, easy-to-read chart:

As you can see, that is a drawing of a bomb. It is divided into three stages. Iran has completed the first stage (amassing enough 70 percent-enriched uranium for a bomb), and, according to Netanyahu, can complete the second stage (amassing enough 90 percent-enriched uranium) as soon as next summer. The key here — and this is important — is to stop Iran before it enters the final stage, i.e. the completion of the bomb. Let’s hope the White House was paying attention.

Of course, the bomb drawing got its share of criticism on Twitter, as BuzzFeed reports:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu punctuated his attempt to rally the international community against Iran’s nuclear program with a crude illustration of a bomb in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York today — a move that drew him an immediate wave of mockery, but also reflected an astute grasp of the changing media climate.

The chart wasn’t unserious, it was simple. And it’s precisely what the public needs to see at this point. The White House has been able to drag their feet on the debate, in part, because they’ve portrayed it as murky and complicated. It isn’t. There will be debates, if and when the time comes, over whether Iran has actually reached the red line, and whether the intelligence is accurate or complete. But there’s no question that a clear and firm line needs to be drawn.


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