Israel and Iran trade threats as Baradei announces Iran ”few months” from nuclear weapon
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Riza Asefi responded to recent Israeli comments that Iran's nuclear program was an unacceptable threat to its security, saying that "Zionist authorities are well aware that if they make a foolish mistake against Iran, Iran's harsh response will be destructive and determined."
Israeli Chief of Staff Dan Halutz stated on Monday that he was skeptical about the prospects of diplomatic negotiations solving the nuclear impasse with Iran.
On his part, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said last week that “Israel and other countries cannot accept a situation where Iran has nuclear arms," and that he agrees with US President George W. Bush that dealing with Iran’s nuclear development was a top priority that should be referred to the United Nations Security Council.
Asefi added the Israeli statements were a result of a "serious crisis" within the Zionist regime, and frustration with the failure of international pressure to force Iran to capitulate to its demands.
Baradei: Iran could be "few months" from nuclear weapon
Meanwhile, Mohamed El Baradei, head of the Atomic EnergyAgency (IAEA), the United Nations' nuclear watchdog, revealed in a recent interview that he believed Iran could be "a few months" away from producing a nuclear weapon once it renews the enrichment of uranium at its 'Natanz' facility.
El Baradei added that "It's difficult to read their intention. We're still going through the program to make sure it's all for peaceful purposes," he told reporters of the Independent.
Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of Tehran's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, told IRNA on Sunday that Iran's Atomic Energy Organization would establish 20 nuclear plants in the future, the first of which is being built by Russia and scheduled to begin operating by March 2006.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Israeli radio recently that "Israel must take every necessary step to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons," adding that if Israel's government did not act to deter Iran's nuclear capabilities by Israel's upcoming elections, he would take it upon himself to do so.
"If the current government works to achieve this, I will give it my full support – and if it does not, I intend on establishing the next government, and then we'll act," he said.
Some Israeli sources, however, have stated that Israel's recent comments regarding Iran's nuclear program are merely related to considerations based on upcoming Israeli elections, and that Israel should strive diplomatic progress on the matter led by the US.
© 2005 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)