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Ahmadinejad'S DOUBLE TALK

Israel Rejects President Ahmadinejad's Declaration That Iran's Nuclear Program Will Not Harm Anyone , 'Not Even The Zionist Entity'

Leading Israeli Knesset Members: 'Israel Is Preparing To Go It Alone In Coping With Iranian Nuclear Threat'

'Iran Might Acquire Sufficient Know-How For Building The Bomb Within Months'

Iranian President Ahmadinejad

'Double talk' was how Israeli officials  reacted to Iranian President Ahmadinejad's claim that Iran's nuclear program does not threaten the Jewish state. On the contrary the officials say the heavy water installation at Arak indicates that Iran is also trying to develop nuclear weapons by producing plutonium and not just by enriching uranium.

'Iran's crazy President Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust while preparing the next Holocaust by trying to acquire nuclear weapons to achieve his aim'. That was the reaction of Israel's U.N. Ambassador Danny Gillerman to Ahmadinejad's declaration that Iran's nuclear program threatens no one, 'not even the 'Zionist entity'. 

Israel has made clear that it will not fall for Ahmadinejad's soothing words at the inauguration of a big Iranian heavy water installation at Arak. Ambassador Gillerman said the new installation proves Iran is constantly advancing its nuclear weapons program with the aim of wiping Israel off the map. On one hand, Tehran was conducting a very sophisticated policy exploiting its oil and economic weapons to gain the support of Russia and China. On the other hand, the U.S., Britain , Germany and France were seeking for an unequivocal stand against Iran at the U.N.; but this attempt was being stymied by the Russians and Chinese. Gillerman added that if it was not so serious and threatening, he would say the Iranians were laughing at the West's attempts.

MK Silvan Shalom

Likud Knesset member and former Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom says the U.S. and the Europeans first felt Iran was solely Israel's problem. But now they realize that Iran's long range missiles can also reach London, Paris, Berlin, Rome and even southern Russia. Suddenly they understood they had to act and brought the issue before the U.N. Security Council. Until now this move was blocked by giant corporations that wanted to protect their financial interests by exerting pressure on their governments. Even today, after the issue has reached the Security Council, some countries want it to remain there without the imposition of sanctions on Iran. Silvan Shalom said it was vital for the Security Council to stop evading the problem and take firm action.

Question - But can Israel act on its own to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons?

The former foreign minister said Jerusalem  was acting solely on the diplomatic level and that's the way it should be. But Israel must be and is prepared for every contingency. The Jewish state had made clear that it's not when Iran acquires the bomb that's crucial - there's a debate whether it would be in 2009,10, 11 or 12.  The key question is when the Iranians will acquire the sufficient know-how. Israel's assessment is that the Iranians will acquire this know-how in a matter of months. Therefore, time is short and  intensive efforts must be made to steer the world to the right decision. The Security Council should move beyond Iran's reply of August 22nd and adopt real sanctions. He recalled a conversation he had with a very senior European leader who said that effective sanctions against Iran could drive up oil prices to $100/ barrel.  Silvan Shalom had replied: ' You are talking about the standard of living but let's first guarantee there will be life'. He concluded on a more upbeat note. Until 2003, Moscow had participated in all aspects of Iran's nuclear development. But since 2004, Moscow had cut back this nuclear co-operation realizing that nuclear weapons in the hands of the Ayatollahs' could pose a nightmare. But at the same time, the Russians had their interests in the Arab and Muslim world and have not taken necessary action at the U.N. In order to buy China's veto in the Security Council Iran signed the biggest trade deal in history with the Chinese. It is  worth a whopping $75 billion. China has not cast a veto on the Iranian nuclear issue but like the Russians they are stonewalling on sanctions.

Labor MK Ephraim Sneh, a former deputy defense minister, also says Ahmadinejad is trying to pull a fast one. Sneh notes that not two weeks have passed since Iran's proxy since Hezbollah launched four thousand rockets at Israel in the recent war.  For the past eighteen years, Iran has been duping the world on its nuclear weapons program and is doing so to this very day. Sneh asks: 'What is the purpose of the new heavy water installation?' The whole world demands that Iran halt its uranium enrichment program but that is only one route to the bomb. The other is to produce plutonium and one of the necessary components for that is heavy water. On Saturday , Ahmadinejad announced to the world that Tehran is going both routes to acquire a  nuclear arsenal. With chances slim that serious sanctions will ever be imposed on Iran by the Security Council, what does Sneh think of the rumor that the U.S. might go it alone with separate sanctions? He notes that Iran imports 40% of its gasoline and therefore gasoline sanctions could arouse greater domestic opposition to the regime. However, Sneh believes that as long as the Ayatollahs are in power, Iran will pose a threat to Israel's existence. The war with Hezbollah was only the first round in this confrontation. In his view Israel should mobilize all possible diplomatic pressure against Tehran. But in the end, Israel must prepare to go it alone. The Jewish state should not count on anyone else because it might be left on its own to cope with the Iranian nuclear threat.

David Essing

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