Sunday, May 3, 2009

Michael Oren - Israel will not allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons

by Natasha Mozgovaya
from the San Francisco Sentinel
May 3, 2009

Israel will not allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons, Israeli media on Sunday quoted Michael Oren, who is slated to be Israel’s next ambassador to the U.S., as telling pro-Israel lobbyists.

Oren, a noted historian, was quoted as saying that Israel would not remain passive while a regime that has sworn to wipe it off the map acquired the means to do this, referring to comments made by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

He reportedly made the comments at the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington.

Former Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh, meanwhile, warned the lobbyists of the dire consequences that Iran’s attainment of nuclear weapons would have on Israel and the entire Middle East.

“The terrorists across the region will raise their heads because they will have nuclear backing… it will spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East,” Sneh told the AIPAC summit.

“Immigration to Israel will stop; parents will encourage their children to leave the country; investment in Israel will drop significantly; moderates in the Middle East will become more extreme.”

The event drew more than 6,000 participants, including politicians, students, Jewish community activists and academics. Much of the discussion at the conference was devoted to Iran’s nuclear ambitions, which Israel and the United States say are aimed at producing atomic weapons.
Sneh also touched on the much-touted possibility of an Israeli military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

“From what we know about the progress of Iran’s nuclear program, this is the deadline for a decision,” he said.

“This is an undiplomatic answer, but you need to assume that we have a [military] operational solution, and this is based on what we can do on our own, without permission and without support.”

The former lawmaker’s comments came after the French magazine L’Express reported on Saturday that the Israel Air Force recently staged military exercises between Israel and the British colony of Gibraltar near southern Spain.

The fact that the drills were held 3,800 kilometers away from Israel “confirms that the Israel Defense Forces is making concrete preparations” to attack Iran over its refusal to cooperate with the international community over its contentious nuclear program, according to L’Express.
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