The worst danger we face is that Iran would develop nuclear military capabilities.
Deputy FM Daniel Ayalon in interview to Fox News (31 May 2009):
The Iranians are expanding their influence through incitement and through terrorism throughout the world – Latin America, Lebanon, Egypt, the Palestinian Authority – everywhere they can really push forward.
What is the most frustrating thing here is that Iran is a very, very weak country with many vulnerabilities – especially economic ones, but also political ones, and this regime will not be able to survive real economic sanctions. But so far they have not been faced with this dilemma – to either continue with their intransigence or to pay the price.
Iran can be stopped, and it can be stopped rather easily – if indeed there will be a unity of purpose by the entire international community, with also a unity of operation. And we will soon know. The Iranian clock unfortunately is still ticking, and it is measured by months and not years. But it suffices to say that Iran is an existential threat, not just for Israel, but for the entire Sunni Arab regimes in the region and much beyond. I would just draw to the attention of your viewers that only two weeks ago they successfully launched a missile with a range of more than 2000 kilometers, covering Europe.
And on the drawing board are many farther range missiles that could also reach the eastern borders of the United States. It is a threat to all of us, so it should be the international community that takes measures together, in an effective way.
Address by PM Netanyahu at Knesset special session (27 May 2009):
On the eve of my visit to Washington, it was clear to me that the most important mission at that moment was to reach agreements with the new president of the United States and the new administration in Washington regarding the nuclearization of Iran – and we met this goal as well. In my meetings in Washington, my position was that the greatest danger Israel and the entire world faces is Iran’s efforts to develop military nuclear capability, and I greatly appreciate the fact that the Obama administration accepted this position with understanding.
Interview with Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon – France 24 TV (18 May 2009):
Interviewer: Can you tell us that Israel will not take action against Iran without consulting with the United States? And how far is all this rhetoric from both parts, because for example when you were in Washington you stressed that you were sure that President Bush was going to take action at the end if negotiations failed – to take action against Iran, which obviously he didn’t do. How far is all this rhetoric on both parts?
Mr. Ayalon: I think there is rhetoric on all sides, unfortunately basically starting from Teheran. But we have to take Teheran at its word. Teheran is relentless in trying to achieve military nuclear capabilities. They are working very hard on delivery systems and we know that they have just extended the range beyond 15 hundred kilometers. Only just four weeks ago they successfully launched a satellite into orbit, which means basically all of Europe is now covered by its delivery systems. Iran is a real center for radicalism, for extremism, and they export their ideology and they export their terrorism. We see it through Hezbollah in Lebanon, through Hamas in the Palestinian Authority. They try to undermine Fatah and Abu Mazen, they try to undermine Egypt and Mubarak. Now Iran was also bold enough to threaten to wipe Israel off the map. This is something which I think should have had some repercussions from the international community. And it will continue. So we are in Israel only one piece of the puzzle in the front against Iran.
Interviewer: So you still consider that Iran and the Palestinian problem are related matters?
Mr. Ayalon: I don’t think they are related. And I have said that we should stop – I am talking about the international community – we should stop Iran as if there was no Palestinian problem and we should try to solve the Palestinian problem as if there is no Iranian threat. If there is any connection it is a negative one whereby Iranians are undermining any peace process. They have done it in the past. Iran’s interest is not to have peace in the Middle East, but to divide and conquer and actually become the hegemony here and beyond. So to your question, I don’t think Israel should limit its options. I don’t think the international community should limit its option. But before we talk about the possibility of a military action, there are many, many more things to do, especially in sanctions – economic and financial – because Iran is a very vulnerable country.
PM Netanyahu after meeting with US President Barack Obama (18 May 2009):
We share the same goal and we face the same threats. The common goal is peace. Everybody in Israel, as in the United States, wants peace. The common threat we face are terrorist regimes and organizations that seek to undermine the peace and endanger both our peoples.
In this context, the worst danger we face is that Iran would develop nuclear military capabilities. Iran openly calls for our destruction, which is unacceptable from any standard. It threatens the moderate Arab regimes in the Middle East. It threatens U.S. interests worldwide. But if Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons, it could give a nuclear umbrella to terrorists, or worse, could actually give terrorists nuclear weapons. And that would put us all in great peril. So in that context, I very much appreciate, Mr. President, your firm commitment to ensure that Iran does not develop nuclear military capability, and also your statement that you’re leaving all options on the table…
We want to move peace forward. And we want to ward off the great threats. There’s not a policy linkage between pursuing simultaneously peace, between Israel and the Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world, and trying to deal with removing the threat of a nuclear Iran.
There are causal links. The president talked about one of them. It would help obviously unite a broad front, against Iran, if we had peace between Israel and the Palestinians. And conversely if Iran went nuclear it would threaten the progress towards peace and destabilize the entire area and threaten the existing peace agreement.
So it’s very clear to us. I think we actually – we don’t see closely on this. We see exactly eye to eye on this that we want to move simultaneously and in parallel on two fronts: the front of peace and the front of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear capabilities.
President Peres meets with President Obama at the White House (6 May 2009):
Regarding Iran’s efforts at nuclear armament, President Peres told President Obama that,
"I always support talking and advancing interests through negotiations – this is preferable to war and I hope that it will succeed in keeping Iran from going nuclear. But we cannot close our eyes to the Iranian nuclear threat. We cannot repeat the same mistakes that brought the horrors of the Holocaust to the world. If Europe had taken Hitler seriously from the beginning, millions of human lives would have been saved. Iran is the world’s problem, but it is particularly worrying for us because of our history as Jews… We are seeing a dramatic change in the Middle East – many moderate Arab states in the Middle East see Iran as the biggest threat facing them, and not Israel, and this presents us with an opportunity to act together with all of the Arab world to bring regional peace to all of the Middle East."
FM Liberman meets with Italian PM Berlusconi (5 May 2009): FM Liberman stated that it is important that the dialogue with Iran be limited in duration, and that if after three months it will be clear that the Iranians are playing for time and not ceasing their nuclear program, then the international community will have to take practical measures.
MFA Spokesman: Iranian president’s visit to Latin America postponed indefinitely (5 May 2009): Israel expresses its satisfaction at the postponement until further notice of the visit of Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad to Latin America.
In accordance with the instructions of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Liberman, Israel operated through a number of diplomatic channels in order to express its disappointment with the planned visit. This move was required due to the extremist and anti-Semitic position of the Iranian president and because of the importance Israel attaches to the isolation of Iran, with the goal of causing it to discontinue the development of its nuclear program and to cease its support of international terror.
Video Address by PM Netanyahu to the Annual AIPAC Conference (4 May 2009): The common danger is echoed by Arab leaders throughout the Middle East; it is echoed by Israel repeatedly; it is echoed by Europeans, by many responsible governments around the world. And if I had to sum it up in one sentence, it is this: Iran must not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons.
Address by President Shimon Peres to the Annual AIPAC Conference (4 May 2009): The fanatic rulers of Iran are on the wrong side of history. Actually, they are outside of history. We have respect for the Iranian people and its tradition. Historically, Iran sought to enrich mankind. Today, alas, Iran’s rulers enrich uranium.
The aggressiveness of the Iranian government is not limited to Israel. Indeed, they seek regional hegemony and want to control Arab states using terror and coercion. They develop a nuclear option. They invest huge capital in long-range missiles. Iran is not threatened by anyone. Iran funds and arms Hizbullah and Hamas to spread division and terror, trying to impose a foreign and violent ideology. Their agents target Americans, Europeans and Arabs alike.
Israel’s reaction to the conclusion of the UN Durban Review Conference (4 May 2009): The State of Israel regrets that the Durban Review Conference, whose declared purpose was to address prejudice, a scourge afflicting millions around the world, was exploited to focus instead on a specific conflict that is exclusively political in nature.
Not surprisingly, the only national leader who chose to participate in the Conference was Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, who stands out among Holocaust deniers in the world, and who delivered a vitriol and hate speech at the Conference. Already in the planning stages of the Durban Review Conference, statements were made by Iranian and Syrian representatives belittling the Holocaust. Iran, Syria, and Libya were the countries that played a prominent role during the preparations for the Durban Review Conference and during the deliberations at the Conference itself.
During the deliberations at the Durban Review Conference itself, the Iranian delegate rudely and repeatedly interrupted the representatives of the Jewish organizations, attacked the Conference President for his moderation in conducting the deliberations, and demanded time and again that the Jewish organizations be punished when they spoke out against the massive human rights violations of the Iranian regime. This attitude at the Conference sadly reflected the Iranian regime’s brutal silencing of its critics at home.