Olmert: 'A 10-day attack could delay Iran's nuclear race by years'...

Discussion in 'Politics' started by ZZZzzzzzzz, Apr 28, 2007.

  1. Apr. 28, 2007 14:22 | Updated Apr. 28, 2007 19:59
    German magazine stands by report despite PMO denial
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    "Iran's nuclear program can be thrown back by years in a ten day attack using thousands of Tomahawk cruise missiles," Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was quoted as saying in an interview published online by the German magazine Focus on Saturday.

    Olmert had reportedly said that it would not be possible to completely halt Iran's race to attain nuclear capability, but that a brisk attack that would delay it significantly was "technically feasible." While saying that Israel does not seek military confrontation, Olmert added that "nobody excludes it."

    Only a few hours after the publication of the Focus article in Israeli media outlets, the Prime Minister's Office issued a statement denying the report.

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    A spokesman for the Prime Minister's Office said Olmert did not have an interview with Focus, and had only given a background briefing and was speaking off the record.

    "What (Focus) are printing now in the quotes, the prime minister definitely did not say," Miri Eisen told The Associated Press in Jerusalem.

    The Munich-based magazine said it stood by its report.

    "Olmert is acting hastily… while causing damage to the state of Israel," MK Yuval Steinitz (Likud) said following Saturday's reports.

    According to Focus, Olmert said military measures would be considered only if existing UN sanctions, and "other sanctions" would fail to bring success.

    Weighing the consequences of such a scenario, Olmert said that "we must also ask ourselves whether after a military procedure, the Iranian people as a whole would not become our enemy. And would not such an action pit other Muslim nations against us, thus creating even more problems?"

    On other regional matters, Olmert dismissed claims that Israel was not interested in considering the Saudi king's peace initiative.

    "We welcome [the plan's] suggestions. They represent a change. In the past, the Saudis tried very hard to be anti-Israeli," Olmert told Focus.

    The plan, he added, could serve only as a basis for discussion, and its ambiguities would have to be clarified.

    Olmert quoted the Palestinian demand for a 'right of return' as an example. "What does this [demand] mean?" He said, "That Israel should be pushed to agree to commit suicide?"

    Olmert also expressed skepticism as to the scope of support the plan enjoys in Saudi Arabia. "Does the Saudi leadership stand as a whole behind the initiative of the king? The [Saudi] minister of foreign affairs surrounds himself with anti-American forces, who still find it difficult to accept Israel as a Jewish state."

    AP contributed to this report.