Israel Threatening Iran with ‘Nukes’
27 May 09 | PTV
As Israel remains adamant on blemishing the prospects of Iran-U.S. dialogue and coaxing the White House into a war, Israel’s military Chief of Staff says the regime is ready to use all options against Iran.
Israel, the possessor of the sole nuclear arsenal in the Middle East, has long strived to portray Iran as a regime hell-bent on starting a nuclear war through the pursuit of its nuclear program.
The U.N. nuclear watchdog says Iran has not opted against international law while conducting the program, which Iran says has civilian purposes.
“It is my job as army chief to prepare all the options, and that is what we’re doing,” Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, Israel’s military Chief of Staff, said.
His remarks come as Iran and the U.S., which have not had diplomatic ties for nearly three decades, are moving to consider a possible rapprochement.
Such reconciliation, however, has rubbed Tel Aviv the wrong way.
Israel, which claims to see Iran as an “existential threat”, considers possible friendly ties between Tehran and Washington a major blow to its interests.
“The dialogue between the U.S. and Iran is unlikely to succeed, but this is the preferred course for us too,” said Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi. “Iran continues with its plans. The existence of nuclear weapons in Iran’s hands could destabilize the entire Middle East.”
The Israeli general added that the army would take “every possible measure” when it has to deal with Iran.
The remarks come amid doubts raised by Western experts that the Israeli Air Force does not possess the necessary power to bomb the Iranian program out of existence.
In return, Israeli defense experts claim that a nuclear strike might get the job done.
According to a report by the Sunday Times, Israeli air force squadrons have trained to blow up Iranian nuclear facilities using low-yield nuclear “bunker-busters.”
Ashkenazi’s warning against Iran came as the hawkish Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, publicizes that lifting Iran’s alleged “nuclear threat” is his government’s mission.
In an address to the right-wing Likud party, Netanyahu said if Israel does not remove the Iranian threat, no one will.
Citing Iran as a danger he said, “My job is first and foremost to ensure the future of the state of Israel … the leadership’s job is to eliminate the danger. Who will eliminate it? It is us or no one.”
Bolivia has strongly denied Israeli reports that the Latin American country has been supplying uranium to Iran for its nuclear program.
Bolivian Presidential Minister Juan Ramon Quintana declared that the Israeli report is nonsense and labeled Israel’s intelligence agency a bunch of incompetent “clowns”, AP reported.
Bolivian Mining Minister Luis Alberto Echazu has also said that Bolivia does not even produce uranium, let alone exporti the metallic element.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry document, obtained by The Associated Press on Monday, cites previous Israeli intelligence assessments, saying “there are reports that Venezuela supplies Iran with uranium for its nuclear program” and that “Bolivia also supplies uranium to Iran.”
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has also dismissed the Israeli report.
“I saw in the press yesterday… a supposed official document of the Israeli government where it says Venezuela is supporting Iran in the construction of the atomic bomb, that we’re sending uranium,” Chavez said. Without elaborating, he added: “They accuse us of anything.”
Chavez said that such accusations are meant to tarnish the image of his government.