Israel Takes Issue With Iran Weapons
Wed Sep 29, 4:20 AM ET Middle East - AP
JERUSALEM - Israel will consider "all options" to prevent Iran from
producing nuclear weapons, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said in an
interview published Wednesday, marking the latest in a series of Israeli
threats against Iran's nuclear program.
Concern about Iranian nuclear development intensified last week when
Iranian Vice President Reza Aghazadeh said the country had started
converting raw uranium into the gas needed for enrichment, an important
step in making a nuclear bomb.
The declaration came in defiance of a resolution passed by the
Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear
watchdog, demanding Iran freeze all uranium enrichment — including
Israel considers Iran its most dangerous enemy and worries that Iran's
nuclear weapons program is intended as a threat against it. Iran denies
it is developing nuclear weapons, saying its nuclear development program
is aimed at generating electricity.
Mofaz told the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot that Israel had to be
prepared to deal with what he called the Iranian "threat."
"All options have to be taken into account to prevent it," he was quoted
Mofaz said there was a chance a moderate regime would emerge in Tehran
to stop the development of nuclear weapons, but if not, measures had to
be taken to prevent their deployment.
"The question is what comes first, nuclear ability or regime change,"
Yediot quoted him as saying.
Earlier this month, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (news - web
sites) said Israel is "taking measures to defend itself" — a comment
that raised concern Israel is considering a pre-emptive strike against
Iranian nuclear installations along the lines of its 1981 bombing of an
unfinished Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak near Baghdad.
Speculation has also been fueled by recent Israeli weapons acquisitions,
including bunker-buster bombs and long-range fighter-bombers.