Canadian Press / Associated Press – 2006-12-16 23:24:54
Iran Says It’s Shameful for World to Ignore Israeli Nuclear Admission
Canadian Press / Associated Press
VIENNA, Austria (December 15, 2006) — A senior Iranian official accused the world Friday of ignoring an apparent Israeli admission that it has nuclear weapons, calling the silence shameful.
Ali Ashgar Soltanieh was referring to comments by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in a German television interview broadcast this week. Olmert appeared to include Israel in a list of the world’s nuclear powers, though he later insisted he had not “outed” his country’s nuclear program.
“This week, the prime minister of Israel has announced that they are possessing nuclear weapons,” said Soltanieh, the chief Iranian representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN nuclear watchdog.
“And now you see the officials, the governments of the whole world, the Europeans, are not talking, they’re silent.”
“This is very shameful. Very, very shameful,” he said.
Soltanieh recalled how on the final day of an IAEA meeting in September, the United States and European countries including France, Germany and Britain blocked a vote on a resolution labelling Israel’s nuclear capabilities a threat.
“They even stopped and opposed a resolution that it is a concern of (the) international community that Israel has a nuclear capability,” Soltanieh said during a question-and-answer session at a public event sponsored by the Austrian Institute for International Affairs.
Although Israel is widely assumed to have nuclear weapons, it has long maintained a policy of ambiguity, neither confirming or denying it.
Iran accuses Israel of being the main threat to peace in the Middle East, while Israel is among several countries that fear Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons. Iran insists its nuclear program is only for generating fuel.
Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has described the Holocaust as a “myth” and called for Israel to be wiped off the map. Iran also hosted a two-day conference this week on whether the Holocaust actually took place, sparking worldwide outrage.
Soltanieh defended the conference, saying the purpose was to “let the people talk and review the history to see what has happened.”
© The Canadian Press, 2006
Olmert Not Ruling Out Attack on Iran
Jerussalme Post Staff
(December. 9, 2006) — Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, in an interview scheduled for publication on Sunday, told Germany’s Spiegel magazine that he could not rule out the possibility of a military attack against Iran, and called for the international community to step up action against Teheran.
Olmert called Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s repeated threats to destroy Israel “absolutely criminal,” and said that he expected “more dramatic steps to be taken.”
Olmert was interviewed ahead of his planned trip to Germany, where on Tuesday he will meet and hold a joint press conference with Chancellor Angela Merkel.
When asked about his recent offer to concede “large territories” in the West Bank for a “true peace,” Olmert responded: “A prime minister should not make promises that he cannot keep but my message is clear: I am prepared to give up regions.”
Such a withdrawal, Olmert added, would allow the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank.
On Friday, Olmert spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin about Iran’s nuclear program and told Putin that he hoped the UN Security Council would vote to impose sanctions if Iran continued to flout the international community’s demands that it stop its nuclear development, Army Radio reported.
Earlier, IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Moshe Kaplinsky told a meeting of mayors and local council leaders that Iran had nuclear capability that would “threaten not only Israel, but all of Europe.”
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