Israeli general warns of proliferation


Richard Moore

A hopeful sign:

     But, he said, Israel will not take the lead in striking
     Iranian targets, as it did by bombing an Iraqi nuclear
     installation 25 years ago.

Quite ironic that Israel, with hundreds of nuclear weapons, would 
condemn 'proliferation'.


Original source URL:

West urged to halt Iran

Israeli general warns of proliferation

Time running out to stop Tehran's plans
May 20, 2006. 01:00 AM

The West has less than a year to block Iran's ambition to develop 
nuclear weapons before it touches off "hyper-proliferation" 
throughout the Middle East, says Israel's military intelligence chief.

"The most important step for Iran is the first one - independent 
research and development capacity," said Maj.-Gen. Aharon Ze'evi. 
"They have already begun to enrich uranium, starting in January or 
February 2006. After that, it isn't important whether the first bomb 
is built in 2010 or 2015. The damage is done."

Tehran announced in April it had enriched uranium to a level that can 
be used for producing a domestic energy supply, saying it would 
continue to escalate the enrichment program.

The United States has called for a new international treaty banning 
production of weapons-grade nuclear material. Meanwhile, the UN 
Security Council's powerful five permanent members, and Germany, are 
working on a package of incentives to deter Iran from taking steps 
that could lead to a nuclear bomb - a move that Iranian President 
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appeared to scorn.

"Do you think you are dealing with a 4-year-old child to whom you can 
give some walnuts and chocolates and get gold from him?" Ahmadinejad 
said on Iranian state television.

He later softened his stance, saying progress was being made in 
defusing the crisis.

But Ze'evi said he was "very skeptical" that Tehran would agree to 
bargain away its right to develop the capacity to produce nuclear 
weapons. While the Iranian government has insisted that its nuclear 
program is peaceful, it reserves the right to enrich uranium.

The United States has issued strong warnings against continuing the 
enrichment program. But, Ze'evi said, Washington is unlikely to 
launch an attack on suspected Iranian nuclear sites very soon, unless 
it can produce a "smoking gun" to convince the public the situation 
is critical.

"We're not there yet," Ze'evi told the Toronto Star during a visit to 
Toronto this week, when he spoke at a fundraising dinner for the Aleh 
Negev Foundation's project to build a rehabilitation village in 
southern Israel for severely handicapped children and adults.

"The evidence (of nuclear weapons development) in Iran is stronger 
than it was in Iraq. But it's crucial to get the United Nations' 
authority to use force. This is not the problem of an individual 
country, it's a global problem," Ze'evi said, adding that nuclear 
weapons technology would spread rapidly throughout the Middle East if 
Iran acquired a bomb.

But, he said, Israel will not take the lead in striking Iranian 
targets, as it did by bombing an Iraqi nuclear installation 25 years 
ago. "Israel doesn't have to lead in this struggle, either militarily 
or politically. We have enough problems to deal with in our own area. 
This is a well-defined threat against Europe, the United States and 
many other countries."

Last week, leaked reports predicted the UN's nuclear watchdog, the 
International Atomic Energy Agency, may have found the smoking gun 
needed to trigger military action.

The agency asked Iran for samples of machinery from a destroyed 
physics research centre to test whether it showed traces of 
bomb-grade uranium. Iran denied that the highly enriched material was 
found on vacuum pumps at the military-linked site northeast of 
Tehran, and experts said the equipment could have been imported after 
contamination in another country such as Pakistan.

If Iran is developing a nuclear bomb, Ze'evi said, one of the biggest 
threats is its command and control structure.

"Surface-to-surface missiles are under the control of the Republican 
Guard, who are not part of the military. Ballistic missile 
capabilities are directly under the control of (Ayatollah Ali) 
Khamenei, not the chief of defence," he said, referring to Iran's 
hardline supreme leader who succeeded the late Ayatollah Ruhollah 

Both Khamenei and Ahmadinejad are bitterly opposed to Israel, and 
Ahmadinejad has brought Iran closer to Israel's sworn enemies, Syria 
and the new Palestinian Islamist government, Hamas - moves that have 
sparked anger in the West.

"I think that Westerners often have little understanding of how deep 
the feeling is in Iran that they are cornered," said Ze'evi. "They 
really believe that if they have nuclear military capacity everyone 
will treat Iran differently."

Ze'evi, who briefs the Israeli government and others on security in 
the Middle East, will leave his job at the end of the year.

Copyright Toronto Star Newspapers Limited. All rights reserved.

Escaping the Matrix website
cyberjournal website  
subscribe cyberjournal list     mailto:•••@••.•••
Posting archives      
   cyberjournal forum 
   Achieving real democracy
   for readers of ETM 
   Community Empowerment
   Blogger made easy