Friday, July 24, 2009
Israel struggles to portray Iran as a threat to the world’s security saying the international community should make concerted efforts to counter Iran’s nuclear program.
Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said in an interview with Xinhua on Thursday that the world could not afford a nuclear Iran and therefore the international community had to avert the prospect.
Ayalon said that Iran would turn into a “regional hegemony” if it went nuclear, adding that the international community had to deal with Iran’s nuclear work as “the most important thing.”
“Also, a nuclear Iran will start such an aggressive nuclear arms race in the world, not just here in many countries, but also in Asia and other places. So it’s everybody’s interest to stop Iran,” he added.
He suggested that tougher sanctions were also needed to force Iran to abandon its nuclear work.
Under US pressure, the UN Security Council has slapped sanctions on Iran for its uranium enrichment activities.
The West, spearheaded by the US and Israel, the sole possessor of a nuclear arsenal in the Middle East, accuses Iran of pursuing a nuclear weapons program under the guise of enrichment activities, an allegation dismissed by Tehran.
Iran argues that, unlike Israel, it is a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and has willingly opened its atomic activities to the most stringent supervision of UN nuclear watchdog inspectors, according to the terms of the NPT.
Stressing that all options were still on the table against Iran, Ayalon added that, in his eyes, there was also a consensus on the issue, both inside the new US government and among Tel Aviv’s European allies.
“I’ve heard both US Secretary of State Clinton and President Obama saying that no options are ruled out and all the options are on the table. And I think this is the right approach,” he said. “In our discussions with European allies and others, we have not heard any call to rule out any option.”
Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom also took a tough line against Iran over its nuclear work. He told foreign reporters on Thursday that Israel could not come to terms with a nuclear Iran.
Shalom also cast doubt on US overtures to Iran to resolve the country’s nuclear issue through diplomatic means. Any attempt to conduct dialogue to halt Iran’s nuclear program will be a complete waste of time, he added.
As part of Tel Aviv’s strenuous efforts to amass international pressure on Tehran aimed at stopping its nuclear work, Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, is on a tour of Latin American countries. The mission has also been described as a counter to Iran’s growing inroads into South American countries.
Lieberman arrived in Argentina amid angry protests on Thursday after his first stop in Brazil, where he failed to drum up any support for setting up an anti-Iran front in collaboration with the Latin American country.
In Brazil, Lieberman took part in a joint news conference, during which he said Brazil should make good use of its growing ties with Iran to help bring to a halt the country’s nuclear activities.
“I believe that Brazil, more than other countries, could try to convince the Iranians to stop their nuclear program,” Lieberman said.
In response to Israel’s request, the Brazilian Foreign Minister, Celso Amorim, defended Tehran’s development of nuclear technology for “exclusively non-military” purposes and within a “verifiable” framework.
The Brazilian official then took an apparent swipe at Israel over its blunt refusal to sign the NPT. “Brazil would like all countries to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty”.
Israel, which is believed to be the Middle East’s sole possessor of nuclear warheads, has shrugged off requests to join the Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT).
The NPT, to which Iran is a signatory, grants its members the right to develop peaceful nuclear activities.
After his stop in Argentina, Lieberman is scheduled to visit Peru and Colombia, before returning to Israel.
This article was posted: Friday, July 24, 2009 at 3:24 am