Conflict & Justice

Israel reacts to Iran nuclear ambitions


Iranian women hold pictures of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei outside the former U.S. embassy in Tehran on November 4, 2011, during a rally to mark the storming of the American embassy by Iranian students 32 years ago.


Atta Kenare

TEL AVIV, Israel — The most hotly anticipated report of the International Atomic Energy Agency was released after a frenzied week in which a possible Israeli attack against Iranian nuclear installations was openly discussed. But Jerusalem has yet to react.

The Israeli government has yet to issue so much as a “no comment” about the report, which for the first time confirms the position long held by the United States and Israel, that Iran is preparing to build a nuclear bomb.

Off the record, officials in Jerusalem said the unequivocal language in the report is “very hard on Iran” and that the “credible information” upon which the report is based will be impossible to ignore. In particular, Israeli media mentioned the report’s claims that Iran has been using single purpose computer programs that virtually create the effects of a nuclear detonation.

More: UN releases report on Iran nuclear program

Sources say that following the release of the report Israel now believes “crippling sanctions” against Iran will be inevitably put into place as the “only way to prevent Iran from achieving military-grade uranium.”

Israeli radio reported that the government is expected to announce no unilateral measures and, in fact, that “Israel is not interested in leading the charge’ against Iran.

Opposition leader Tsippi Livni issued a statement saying that, “Now that the truth is on the table, Israel’s role is to bring together the entire free world to prevent Iran from continuing its nuclear plans.”

Shaul Mofaz, a former army chief of staff and chairman of the parliament’s Security and Foreign Affairs Committee said, “Any country that thinks it is safe from Iran is wrong. This is not Israel’s problem but the world’s problem. We are being tested.”

Hours before the IAEA report was released, Foreign Minister Ehud Barak said, “Israel is by far the strongest military force in the Middle East, and we will remain so for the foreseeable future. War is no picnic and all these people who have been talkng about the prime minister and I as if we are sitting in some room planning an “adventure” are saying lies. But, if we end up in a war we are not seeking, Israel will not be destroyed. People are talking about 50,000 dead. That is ridiculous! Not 5,000 and if everyone stays home, not even 500. The fear-mongering that has been taking place is completely demagogic.”