Israel warns of nuclear Iran by 2008
By HERB KEINON
Jul. 4, 2004 10:14 | Updated Jul. 7, 2004 0:16
If the international community doesn't halt Iran's march to acquiring nuclear weapons, Teheran may have its first nuclear bomb by 2008, OC Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Aharon Ze'evi said Tuesday night.
Ze'evi made his comments on Channel 1, soon after the arrival of Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), for a two-day visit.
Ze'evi said according to Israel's intelligence information, Iran has no intention of halting its nuclear program, despite the international pressure.
Ze'evi said Israel believes that by the spring of 2005 the Iranians will have independent nuclear research and development capability, and that it will take another two and a half years for Iran to build its first nuclear weapon.
Asked if Israel needs to respond, Ze'evi said that as long as the world is taking action to halt this development, Israel should stand aside.
"This concerns Europe, the US, and the free world more than it does us, and of course it does concern us," he said.
Israel is expected to raise with ElBaradei the question of Iran's nuclear program, and what moves the international community and IAEA can take next to keep Teheran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Officially, however, the Iranian issue is not on the agenda of ElBaradei's talks here. The focus, according to Israeli officials, is to be on a wide range of bilateral issues.
ElBaradei is slated to meet with Health Minister Dan Naveh on Wednesday and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Thursday.
If Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, who is currently in the US, returns to Israel on time, ElBaradei will meet with him Thursday at the airport.
In addition, he is scheduled to hold discussions with officials of the Israel's Atomic Energy Commission, including its director, Gideon Frank.
ElBaradei is also to deliver a lecture at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem on Thursday.
ElBaradei is accompanied by Vilmos Cserveny, who is in charge of external relations for the IAEA, and the organization's spokesman, Mark Gwozdecky.
Israeli diplomatic officials repeated on the eve of ElBaradei's visit that Israel has no intention of changing its long-term policy of nuclear ambiguity.
Israel is also expected to make clear to ElBaradei that while it in favor of a Middle East nuclear free zone in principle, such a zone is premature before there is a fundamental political change in the region, including peace agreements and an end to Arab regimes calling for Israel's destruction.
Though Israel is not a party to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty which gives the IAEA powers to inspect nuclear programs it is a member of the agency. ElBaradei will not be visiting the nuclear reactors in Dimona or Nahal Sorek.
Israel neither confirms nor denies it has nuclear weapons, and has maintained a policy of nuclear ambiguity for nearly 50 years, saying only that it will not be the first country to introduce nuclear arms into the Middle East.
ElBaradei: I have no power to pressure Israel
Saying he had no "magic wand" to change Israel's policy of nuclear ambiguity, Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), arrived as an invited guest in Israel Tuesday for a two-day meeting that Israeli officials said will focus on bilateral issues.
"I obviously don't have a magic wand nor do I have a power of prescription ... I have the power of recommending, of advising and I have no reason to believe that I will not have an open and frank discussion," ElBaradei told reporters in Tel Aviv.
"We need to strengthen security in the Middle East and I think everybody understands that. I'd like to see Israel supporting the Nonproliferation Treaty. I'd like to see the beginning of a dialogue on how a ... nuclear security free zone could look. If I get the parties closer on the need for a dialogue, I think I'll be successful," he added.
Meanwhile, in only his second interview since his release from prison, Israe's nuclear spy Mordechai Vanunu urged ElBaradei to persuade Israeli leaders to allow him into the Dimona plant.
"Now, after 18 years that my revelation has gone to all the world and I come out of prison and report to all the world, he too must go and demand to be inside Dimona and to report to IAEA and to all the world," Vanunu said on Channel 1 TV.
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IRAN AND IRAQ, FUTURE LEADERS OF THE MIDDLE EAST OR BITTER ENEMIES
By Safa Haeri
Posted Monday, July 5, 2004
PARIS, 5 July (IPS) The surprise hand over of powers from the Americans to the Washington-installed Iraqi government on 28 of June, 48 hours before the official date surprised the Iranians as well.
Being one of the very few nations to recognise the Iraqi Provisory Council when it was installed by the Americans six months ago, Tehran rather quickly reacted to the event, albeit cautiously.
Iran's Foreign Affairs Ministry Spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi described the formal handover of authority to the Iraqi interim Government of Mr. Iyad Alawi on Monday as a step toward establishing a popular government and restoring full popular sovereignty.
The transfer of power from the Americans to the Iraqi government and end of occupationis a positive step.
"The transfer of power to the Iraqi government and end of occupation, which is taking place on the basis of the United Nations Security Council resolution 1546, is a positive step", he said, quoted by the conservatives-controlled Radio and Television.
"We welcome any step which is taken in line with handing over Iraq's affairs to the country's public majority as well as ending occupation", Mr. Abdollah Ramezanzadeh, the official government spokesman said last week.
"We hope the transfer of power will be in this direction and help end occupation and establish a system based on the views and votes of the people," he told reporters at a weekly news briefing, referring to the low-key ceremony in Baghdad, during which the US Vice Roy Paul Bremer handed the transfer document to Iraq leaders, formally ending 14-month occupation of the oil-rich Middle Eastern nation. "This is a historic day, a happy day, a day that all Iraqis have been looking forward to", Iraqi President Sheykh Ghazi Yawar told the semi secret ceremony.
The two countries are starting to come to terms with a destructive war, which they fought between 1980 and 1988 under the regime of Saddam Hussein, who also attacked neighbouring Kuwait.
Either Iran and Iraq would embark on a marriage of raison, like the one signed between France and Germanyor revert to old rivalries, antagonism, animosity and hating, paving the way for another war, Iranian analysts said, talking to Iran Press Service.
Either they would embark on a marriage of raison, like the one signed between France and Germany after the last World War, -- a liaison that turned into a love affair, as seen from the latest polls that shows that eighty per cent of Germans consider France as their most trusted and closest allies and friends and together, becoming the political and economic locomotive of the region, the same role Paris and Berlin plays in Europe, or revert to old rivalries, antagonism, animosity and hating, paving the way for another war, Iranian analysts said, talking to Iran Press Service.
Even if the transfer of power is more virtual than real, the event opens new chapter in the tumultuous, love and hate relations between Iran and Iraq, but the big question is whether the two neighbours could turn it into a love or hate chapter.
Irans Arab and Iraq relations are full of mutual hate having their roots in both history and religion. Both they need very wise, broad minded and courageous leaders to make full use of the new situation. For the time being, we dont see any personality of the calibre of a (Charles) De Gaulle or (Konrad) Adenauer pointing in the horizons, at least in Tehran, where the present clerical leaders are too short sighted of Lilliputians and in Baghdad, we dont know who might emerge and which direction the country might go, one analyst told us, referring to the French and German leaders that signed the Franco-German Pact of Friendship more than fifty years ago.
Although the interim government led by Prime Minister Iyad Allawi will have full sovereignty, there are important constraints on its powers. Not only it can not make long-term policy decisions and has not control over more than 160,000 foreign troops who will remain in Iraq on his demand, but also faces growing insecurity due to the activities of a number of criminal groups, foreign-paid terrorists, islamist suicide-squads and local guerrillas to name some.
The iraquisation of the situation in Baghdad would place in a new dimension the Iran-Iraq relations. Until now, Irans declared opposition to the presence of occupation forces in Iraq and its backing of groups fighting the Americans was welcomed by the majority of the Iraqis and even many members of the government. But from now on, whatever Tehran says or does concerning Iraq would be dealt directly by the Iraqi government, regarding it as a hostile or friendly act, said Mr. Said Shervini, an Iranian analyst specialising in the Middle Eastern affairs based in Germany.
In his view, the continuation of the presence of American forces, a liability that Prime Minister Alawi can not govern without it can provide the necessary pretext to any force that, for whatever reason, does not want to see peace and stability coming back to Iraq.
Some pundits places the Islamic Republic in this category, observing that the emergence of a real democracy in Iraq, -- one that would be more of the American type -- would be a tremendous encouragement to Iranian forces fighting for the rule of democracy and secularism in their own country.
But others are more optimistic. Not only many of the present Iraqi ministers and personalities are friends of Iran, not only some of them have lived in Iran and enjoyed protection and assistance, but also Iran has been one of the first nations to officially recognise the Provisory Council and kept an embassy in Baghdad, Dr. Assadollah Athari, a University professor in Tehran told the semi-independent Iranian students news agency ISNA.
Although Iranians are happy with the fall of Saddam Hussein, but at the same time are unhappy with the occupation of Iraq by the Americans and the presence of a huge American force at their doors, he added.
Dr Mohammad Ali Basiri, another scholar in Tehran says maybe the Iraqi government is not to the Iranians liking one hundred per cent, but one has to agree that it is one hundred per cent better than that of Saddam Hussein.
Anyway, this (the transfer of powers to the Iraqis) is a good start allowing Iran to establish sound and friendly relations with its neighbours, promising better days for the future, he told the same ISNA agency.
Dr Mohsen Jalilvand, a professor of international relations is also convinced that Iran would do its best to accommodate Mr. Alawis government, but, he points out, Iraq must also keep in mind the conditions, situation and interests of Iran as one of the regions most powerful nations.
There is no doubt that with their natural resources, mostly oil, an energy that places them behind Saudi Arabia but combined together, makes them the largest producer and exporter in the world, enjoying the regions most educated cadres and strongest armies, both war experienced and bound by the same Shia faith, the Tehran-Baghdad couple would be a tremendous force that every one would have to reckon with.
As Mr. Athari had said, the Kurdish and the Shia members of the Iraqi government are among Irans best friends, since the Shia-based Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution of Iraq (SAIRI) was formed in Iran and the leaders of the two main Kurdish parties have always maintained close ties with Tehran.
But the speculative creation of such a strong tandem not only would also change dramatically the traditional game play of the strategic region, but also raising hairs in Tel Aviv, Ankara and Riyadh in the one hand, Washington and London on the other.
Thinking that the Iraqi government, because it is installed and backed by the Americans would cross the Rubicon and recognise Israel is just a wishful thinking, as seen by the Afghan experience, where President-Prime Minister Hamed Karzai, also placed on the saddle in Kabul by the Americans, has yet to establish relations with the Jewish State, even in the de facto form.
In the best of situations, Mr. Alawi would close his eyes to the presence of Israel in the region and live the problem for the future Iraqi parliament, said one Iraqi journalist.
The likelihood is the formation of an opposite axis made of Israel, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, all three Americans best allies in the region, backed by Washington, to the Iran-Iraq duo that, in turn, would have the natural support of the European Union, -- plus or minus Britain --.
Ankara and Tel-Aviv are already working closely together in the military, security and intelligence fields, to the ire of Iran, Egypt, Jordan and Syria and although Turkish-Israeli relations had been downgraded by the Turkish government and parliament controlled by the moderate Islam-based Justice and Development Party because of Israels operations against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, the military cooperation continues unabated.
For its part, Saudi Arabia had offered the Jewish State normalisation of relations with all Arab nations under Crown Prince Abdollahs peace for land plan that was submitted to the Arab Summit in Beirut two years ago, but dismissed by Israel. Besides, the Saudis, who in great majority are Wahabites, considers the Shia as heretics and outside the Islam faith in the one hand and hates the Kurds, regarding them as being of Iranian ajami (stranger) extract, therefore enemies of the Arabs.
The big question now is whether Iranians and Iraqis could be wise and intelligent enough to resist all sorts of provocations, manipulations, political manoeuvrings and malicious propaganda that the enemies of the Iran-Iraq rapprochement would downpour on them, pushing for a new war, asked Mr. Parviz Mardani, a Germany-based independent Iranian journalist. ENDS IRAN IRAQ RELATIONS 5704
a- Those who say Islam is NOT a religion of war and that Islam must not kill people, do not understand Islam. The Koran says war! War! Meaning those who follow the Koran must continue the war until evil is taken out from the
world. War is a blessing for the whole world and it is a blessing from God for any nation in any environment that it may be. Why do you constantly read the verses about mercy in the Koran and ignore the verses about killing(war)? Ayatullah Khomeini, Tehran, December 20/21st 1984, on the occasion of ceremonies for the birth of Prophet Muhammad.
b- We are after killing the corrupt roots of Zionism, Capitalism and Communism in the world. We have decided, with the blessing and grace of God, to destroy the systems built upon these three bases If we are torn to pieces a thousand times, we shall not stop the fighting against the oppressor Ayatullah Khomeini, Tehran, 20/21st July 1988, following the acceptance of the UN resolution on cease fire with Iraq.
c- Today, East and West know very well that the only force that is able to sweep them from the scene in Islam Our officials should know that our revolution is not confined to Iran. The revolution of the Iranian people is the starting point of the great revolution of the Islamic world One more time I am asking the high officials of the Islamic Republic system not to be afraid of any one and any thing except the great God, tighten their belts and refrain from abandoning the struggle and Jihad against corruption and prostitution of the Western capitalism and the nihilism and aggression of
Communism. We are still taking our first steps in the global struggle against East and West. Will it be worse than apparently being defeated by world powers (devourers)? Will it be worse than being accused by the world of being violent and backward? Will it be worse than beloved children of the pure Mohammadan Islam being hanged up on the gallows? Will it be worse than wives and children of Hizbullah being taken captive? Let the mean materialistic world treat us like that, but we shall continue acting according to our Islamic duty Ayatullah Khomeini, Tehran, 22/23rd March
NUCLEAR: Due to International Suspicions Russia Cannot Finish Bushehr Plant, Ivanov Tells Iran
Secretary of Russias security council Igor Ivanov told secretary of the supreme national security council Hassan Rowhani that due to the international communitys suspicion about Irans nuclear program, Russia cannot resume work on the Bushehr nuclear plant. Rowhani and other Islamic officials called on Russia to end its suspension of work on the plant.
Radio Farda Newsroom
Secretary of Russias national security council Igor Ivanov told the Islamic governments top authorities that because of international suspicions about Irans nuclear programs, Russia is unable to finish the nuclear power plant in Bushehr, according to Russian news sources. Secretary of supreme national security council Rowhani and other officials who met with Ivanov called on Russia to resume work on the project, Iranian news sources reported.
In his meeting with Ivanov on Monday, Rowhani said Iran was committed to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and was in full cooperation with the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). He added that the country is sending what he called powerful signals to the international community to reassure it that Irans nuclear intensions are peaceful.
He called for settling differences with Russia on the Bushehr plant so that work can resume. Russia pulled out all its personnel last year, nearly a month after US occupation of Iraq began.
Irans official news agency IRNA said Ivanov praised the Islamic government for avoiding Security Council sanctions over its nuclear program. Ivanov promised that the Bushehr plant will be finished in 2005 and will come on line in 2006, IRNA added. Russian sources, however, reported that the purpose of Ivanovs trip was to tell Iranian officials that work on the Bushehr plant could resume just yet.
Ivanov also met with Majles speaker Gholamali Haddad-Adel, who told him the completion of the Bushehr plant would be a sign of strong Russia-Iran technical cooperation.