Vice prime minister: There’s still time for sanctions to thwart Iran’s nuclear drive (TIMES OF ISRAEL) By GABE FISHER 08/12/12)
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While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud
Barak have reportedly almost made up their minds on a fall strike on
Iran, Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom said Sunday that Israel
should give sanctions more time.
In an interview with Army Radio, Shalom said that Israel and the
United States need to work together to achieve international
agreement on harsher Iran sanctions.
“If the sanctions are for real, they get the job done. We saw that
with the apartheid era in South Africa, we saw it with Libya’s
nuclear program and we saw it with North Korea,” said Shalom. “Maybe
we’ll see them work against Iran.”
Shalom said that the current sanctions placed by the international
community on Iran were not effective enough to bring about a 180
degree shift in Iran’s nuclear policy, but that if the regime is made
to feel it is at risk, it could abandon its nuclear ambitions.
To do that, Shalom said, there is a need for even harsher
restrictions to be placed on the Iranian economy.
The former foreign minister said that Russia and China were not going
to support tougher sanctions, fearing rising energy costs and the
loss of regional influence, but that the US and Europe could do more
than they were doing at present.
When asked if he sided with the prime minister on the necessity of an
Israeli strike on Iran, Shalom said, “I believe we still have time to
convince the Americans to implement tougher sanctions.”
Meanwhile, retired Maj.-Gen. Israel Ziv warned that an Israeli strike
on Iran’s nuclear facilities would result in another regional war.
Ziv, a former IDF chief of operations, said that a potential strike
on Iran is very different from Operation Opera, the 1981 mission that
saw Israeli planes knock out Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor, because
Iran has “a series of systems” that need to be taken out rather than
just a single target.
Whether or not Israel was successful in destroying Iran’s nuclear
facilities, Ziv said, the result would almost certainly be war. Hamas
and Hezbollah would be sure to respond, he said, and the possibility
of avoiding a full-scale war was “very slight.”
Ziv added that the media campaign in favor of an Israeli strike by
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak
displayed the “insecurity of the political elite.”
On Friday, Channel 2 News devoted much of its evening program to the
issue of Iran, positing that Netanyahu and Barak are “almost ready”
to approve an Israeli military attack despite opposition from the
Obama administration and from many Israeli security chiefs. Several
Hebrew newspapers have carried similar assessments, apparently based
on briefings by people close to the prime minister and defense
minister. (© 2012 THE TIMES OF ISRAEL 08/12/12)
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