Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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12 Iyar 5766 - May 10, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Peres: "Iran can also be Destroyed"

by M Plaut and Yated Ne'eman Staff

After the steady verbal assaults from Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad against Israel, there was an official reaction on Monday from Vice Premier Shimon Peres who said, "The president of Iran should remember that Iran can also be destroyed."

Peres said that Iran is a danger to the whole world, and not just to Israel. However a source in the Israeli security establishment said, "It would be better if Peres had not said what he said."

For months the Iranian president has been using every opportunity to call for Israel's destruction, to threaten to carry it out, to deny the Holocaust, and to say that if the US attacks Iran to stop it from developing nuclear weapons, Iran will respond by attacking Israel.

Israel has remained silent in the face of Ahmadinejad's remarks, saying that Iran is not only Israel's problem but that of the entire world. Leaders all over the world have condemned the provocations, but the world's military powers have so far not declared any plan of action against the Iranian threats. The US is trying to get the UN Security Council to pass a resolution threatening sanctions, but so far the move has been blocked by Russia and China.

Iran threatens and insults the US as well. However those remarks are considered more "routine" coming from Moslem extremists, and they do not have the emotional resonance of Holocaust denial and calls for Israel's destruction. Ahmadinejad's speech seems calculated to irritate and shock, though it does not seem to be part of any broader strategic plan. Nonetheless, Iran is sponsoring terrorism throughout the Middle East, including in Gaza, Lebanon, and attacks on American forces in Iraq.

According to Brig.-Gen Yosef Kuperwasser, head of the IDF Military Intelligence's research division, "Wiping Israel off the map is just one step in Iran's attempt to create a new world order. Iran is interested not only in turning into a superpower, but also in changing the world order."

Obtaining nuclear power, Kuperwasser said, would not only establish Iran as a superpower on a global level, but would also assist the country in establishing its domestic regime.

In his interview with Reuters, Vice Premier Shimon Peres also said, "Teheran is making a mockery of the international community's efforts to solve the crisis surrounding Iran's nuclear program."

Peres did not say who should act against Iran if it continues with its nuclear program, but implied military action should be led by the United States. Israel is usually asked to remain on the sidelines in such actions.

Peres urged China and Russia to join Western efforts to impose sanctions on Iran. The two countries have been reluctant to back such proposals in the UN Security Council. If all world powers are united against Iran, military action can be avoided, Peres said.

"We can prevent all of this threat, without weapons, if there will be unity," Peres said.

Earlier this week Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wrote a letter to US President George W. Bush proposing "new solutions" to their differences, an Iranian government spokesman said. Given the Iranian president's recent remarks, it seems like little more than a publicity stunt designed to confuse the world.

The White House announced late Monday afternoon that the letter of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived. The US sees the letter as an attempt to influence world opinion on the eve of a United Nations Security Council resolution regarding Iran. John Negroponte, the head of the US intelligence, said Monday that "certainly one of the hypotheses you'd have to examine is whether and in what way the timing of the dispatch of that letter is connected with trying in some manner to influence the debate before the Security Council."

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will discuss the Iranian nuclear project this week with foreign ministers of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany, known as the P5+Germany group.

The US is trying to form a broad coalition which will support a new UN resolution under Chapter 7 of the UN charter that would include the threat of sanctions against Iran if it does not comply with international demands regarding its nuclear project. China and Russia still oppose such a resolution and wish to maintain a non-sanction approach to Iran.


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