Reuters – 2011-11-15 00:41:21
Top Israeli Firm: World More Likely to Accept Nuclear Iran than Pay High Cost of War
TEL AVIV (November 10, 2011) — A leading Israeli investment firm said on Thursday any military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities would exact an economic price too high for the world to accept, and as a result, it would likely acquiesce to a nuclear Iran.
A sharp rise in the price of oil, the costs of war and the damage to global trade would be too great and deter world powers from taking any serious action, said Amir Kahanovich, chief economist at Clal Finance, one of Israel’s largest brokerage houses. â€¨â€¨The assessment differed sharply from Israel’s official position that Tehran’s nuclear aspirations are unacceptable and that all options are on the table in preventing a nuclear-armed Iran, which it views as a threat to its existence.
In a report “The Iranian Issue through Economic Eyes”, Kahanovich laid out courses of action — ranging from additional “light sanctions” to military strikes — and told investors the world would likely balk at taking the steps needed to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
Even for Israel the economic cost of a military confrontation that could include retaliatory missile attacks by Tehran and proxies in Gaza and Lebanon would be too high, Kahanovich wrote. “Unfortunately, it appears that a nuclear Iran is the most reasonable scenario,” he added.
Meanwhile, on Thursday UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for a diplomatic solution to the nuclear standoff with Tehran in an apparent reaction to media speculation that Israel might attack Iran’s atomic facilities.
“He (Ban) reiterates his call for Iran’s compliance with all relevant resolutions of the Security Council and the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency,” UN spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters.
“The secretary-general reiterates his belief that a negotiated rather than a military solution is the only way to resolve this issue,” he said.
Israel on Wednesday called on the world to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, after the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, said Tehran appeared to have worked on designing an atomic bomb and may still be conducting secret research.
Speculation about an attack on Iran was fuelled last week when Israel, widely assumed to have the Middle East’s only nuclear arsenal, test-launched a long-range missile and by comments by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Tehran’s nuclear program posed a “direct and heavy” threat.
Iran, which denies it wants nuclear weapons, said the IAEA findings were “unbalanced” and “politically motivated” and vowed to push ahead with its atomic program.
Kahanovich said even a threat of attack on Iran could take an economic toll by raising risk premiums in Israel.
If Iran were backed into a corner it could take action, such as blocking the Strait of Hormuz, causing the price of oil to jump above $250 a barrel, the report said.
And the burden of funding a military confrontation would be too great with so many countries already hurting in the world economic crisis, it added.
Asked about the likelihood of global consensus for tougher sanctions against Iran, Ephraim Kam, a researcher at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies, said China and Russia, which wield veto power in the UN Security Council, would not support such steps and risk economic fallout.
“The most we may see is another round of light sanctions,” he said.â€¨
Iran Threatens to Hit Back with ‘Iron Fists’ to Any Israel, US Attack
TEL AVIV (November 10, 2011) — Iran’s Supreme Leader warned the United States and Israel on Thursday not to launch any military action against its nuclear sites, saying it would be met with “iron fists”, state television reported.
“Our enemies, particularly the Zionist regime [Israel], America and its allies, should know that any kind of threat and attack or even thinking about any (military) action will be firmly responded to,” the television quoted Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as saying.
“The Revolutionary Guards and army and our nation … will answer attacks with strong slaps and iron fists,” he said.
Speculation about an imminent attack on Iran was fuelled last week when Israel test-launched a long-range missile near Tel Aviv and by comments by some Israeli officials that Tehran’s nuclear program posed a “direct and heavy” threat.
Tension rose on Tuesday when the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iran appeared to have worked on designing an atomic bomb and may still be conducting secret research.
Iran denounced the UN inspectors’ report as “unbalanced” and “politically motivated”. â€¨Israel on Wednesday called on the world to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons while Western powers called for heavier sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
The United States and European allies say Iran is trying to build bombs under cover of a civilian nuclear program. The major oil producer denies this, saying it needs nuclear technology to improve its electricity supply for a rapidly growing population.
Israel, which Iran refuses to recognize, sees a nuclear Iran as a threat to its existence and has said all options are on the table in confronting Tehran, including a military one. But it remains publicly committed to a world power strategy of increased diplomatic pressure and sanctions against Iran.
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