Israel Warns of Iran Nuclear
By GAVIN RABINOWITZ
August 1, 2005, 7:33 PM EDT
JERUSALEM -- Israeli officials expressed alarm Monday over Iran's
decision to resume uranium processing, warning that unless the international
community steps up pressure on the Islamic state, Iran will develop nuclear
However, Israeli experts said the world, led by the U.S.,
should deal with the problem.
Iran says its nuclear enrichment program is for
peaceful purposes, but Israel and the United States believe Tehran is pursuing
"If the Americans, Europeans and Russians will not take
Iran to the (U.N.) Security Council and put real pressure on them, they will
produce nuclear capabilities," said Yuval Steinitz, chairman of the
parliamentary Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
repeatedly warned that Iran, which already posses the Shahab-3 missile -- a
weapon capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and reaching Europe, Israel and
U.S. forces in the Middle East -- is a threat to the Jewish state.
"There is a growing understanding in the international community that
the Iranian nuclear program is not benign," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark
Despite the mounting concern over the resumption of uranium
processing and the recent election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a hard-liner, as
Iran's president, officials said that Israel was relying on the international
community, in particular the U.S., to stop Iran.
"Israel has already
said that its policy today is to leave the stage to the international players,
the United States and Europe," said Efraim Halevy, the former head of Israel's
Mossad spy agency. "I think Israel is acting wisely."
questioned Israel's ability to destroy Iran's nuclear installations. Israeli
warplanes bombed the unfinished Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak near Baghdad in
1981. They said Iran's nuclear installations, unlike the Iraqi reactor, are
dispersed throughout the country -- many in populated areas, with sophisticated
"I believe this is beyond our abilities," said Uzi
Even, a former lawmaker and a Tel Aviv University expert on nuclear weapons.
Iran should fear the U.S., not Israel, Steinitz said. "The Americans
have proven their ability to strike many sites simultaneously."