International economic and political sanctions on Iran, as crucial as they may be, are only an initial step, and must be dramatically increased.
Interview with PM Ehud Olmert to "A-Sharq al-Awsat" (24 June 2008):
"We cannot stand with our hands tied when faced with nuclear armaments held by someone who calls daily for our destruction. I tell you clearly – Iran is not just an Israeli question but one that concerns the Americans, the Russians, the Europeans, the Japanese, and the Arabs too. All must work to stop Iran from getting nuclear arms. Israel is not in the vanguard to face Iran but a participant like the others. We are trying to convince the West to use all manner of force to persuade Iran to drop the nuclear program."
Interview with PM Ehud Olmert to "Der Spiegel" (18 June 2008)
SPIEGEL ONLINE: How serious is Iran’s nuclear capability? Would you consider launching a preemptive strike there?
Olmert: It is serious. Israel has long had the opinion that the Iranians have a military program which they will fight to carry on. Why do you need to enrich uranium if you don’t have the facilities that can make use of this uranium for civilian purposes? The information that I have is serious enough to justify my concern about the Iranian program.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: What can be done?
Olmert: There are many things which are being done. And I think that there are more things that should be done. Israel is not the leader in this effort – the leadership is on the shoulder of America, of Russia, of China, of Great Britain, of Germany, of France, of the big powers of the world that have the capabilities, in a concerted effort, to stop the Iranians from progressing.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: If you feel that sanctions aren’t delivering any results, is there a point at which Israel will act on its own?
Olmert: First of all, sanctions are helpful. Are they sufficiently helpful? Probably not. Are there other measures that are helpful? Yes. Can these measures be effective and useful? I personally think there are quite useful and effective measures that could still be applied.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: For example?
Olmert: There are many things that can be done economically, politically, diplomatically and militarily.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Can Israel live with a nuclear Iran?
Olmert: No. I don’t think – considering the nature of the Iranian regime – that Israel can be expected to live under the threat that they may use it.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Does Israel have the military capability to remove any nuclear threat on its own?
Olmert: I think that the capabilities of Israel are well known to the world and I don’t need to go into the details and to analyze them or to describe further what everyone knows.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Does the Begin Doctrine, which stipulates that Israel can act on its own if it feels threatened, still apply today?
Olmert: Israel always has to be in a position to defend itself against any adversary and against any threat of any kind.
FM Livni in Luxembourg (16 June 2008):
"The time has come to intensify sanctions against Israel and to make them more effective, in the framework of both the UN Security Council and the European Union."
Address by PM Olmert to the AIPAC Conference 2008 (3 June 2008):
The most serious and imminent threat to global security and stability is undoubtedly Iran. Iran is the world’s largest exporter of terrorism, a fundamentalist dictatorship, motivated by utter contempt for the values represented by the free world and an uninhibited ambition to achieve military superiority and regional hegemony. It openly calls for the elimination of Israel and actively seeks nuclear capabilities to enable it to translate its sinister plans into action. Iran’s fingerprints are evident in almost every terrorist organization across the Middle East, from Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip to Hizbullah in Lebanon. Hizbullah, Iran’s major protege, receives its directives, ammunition and finances directly from Tehran, with the help of Syria, and is actively engaged in torpedoing any chance of calm in Lebanon. Its long-standing record as a ruthless terrorist organization has earned Hizbullah a place of honor on almost every list of global terrorist organizations. I urge you to work together with us to include Hizbullah in the terrorist list of the European Union and encourage other countries to do the same.
The Iranian threat must be stopped by all possible means. International economic and political sanctions on Iran, as crucial as they may be, are only an initial step, and must be dramatically increased. Iran’s defiance of international resolutions and its continued tactics of deception and denial leave no doubt as to the urgent need for more drastic and robust measures. The sanctions must be clearly defined and religiously enforced. Any willingness to overlook Iranian violations or justify Iran’s questionable tactics will immediately be interpreted as a sign of weakness and will only encourage them to proceed with more vigor.
The international community has a duty and responsibility to clarify to Iran, through drastic measures, that the repercussions of their continued pursuit of nuclear weapons will be devastating. The sanctions initiated by the UN are of immense importance, as they represent a unified stand by a large number of nations, but sanctions should also be initiated by individual countries which have dealings with Iran. Each and every country must understand that the long-term cost of a nuclear Iran greatly outweighs the short-term benefits of doing business with Iran. While Iran may be a large oil exporter, it imports almost half of its refined oil products. Sanctions can be imposed on the export of gasoline to Iran and they can be imposed on countries which refine gasoline for Iran. Governments should announce that Iranian businessmen are no longer welcome in their countries, and that funds arriving from or channeled to Iran should not be transferred through their banks.
Israel and the United States have long understood the acute danger embodied in a nuclear Iran, and are working closely in a concerted, coordinated effort to prevent Iran from becoming nuclear. Israel will not tolerate the possibility of a nuclear Iran, and neither should any other country in the free world…
Referring to the negoations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority:
The moderate, responsible Arab states, headed by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, which want to promote peace and which fully recognize the direct threat to them posed by a nuclear Iran and by foreign and domestic extremism, have a golden opportunity to support a process of normalization and reconciliation with Israel, which will isolate Iran and the extremists and help foil their pursuit of regional dominance. I hope they will choose to take a constructive part and create an environment which is conducive to the peace negotiations currently taking place between Israel and its neighbors.
FM Livni at meeting with German FM Steinmeier (2 June 2008):
"The desire of elements within the international community to open a dialogue with Iran cannot come at the expense of the unequivocal demand to halt the enrichment of uranium by Iran as a precondition for any dialogue."