NEWS

Iran and nuclear weapons

How do you see a way out of the crisis that is escalating now regarding Iran and regarding Syria? Regarding Iran, I believe that determination is the right word. Determination by the international community. I believe that if the international community gives Iran a tough message that it is not ready to tolerate nuclear weapons in the hands of the Iranians, I believe that Iran will stop. If the international community shows hesitation and weakness, I believe Iran will not stop. Iran doesn’t need nuclear weapons. Iran has no enemy. There is no threat to the existence of Iran. Iraq as an enemy of Iran does not exist any more. The combination of three elements is a great disaster for the stability of the world: totalitarianism in Iran, cooperation with international terrorism and nuclear weapons. It is a disaster for peace and stability in the world. Iran’s nuclear weapon is not just a threat for Israel but to countries of the Persian Gulf, to Europe, to moderate Arab countries. Regarding Syria? The Syrian president cooperates with Palestinian terrorist organizations. Almost 10 terrorist organizations are located in Damascus. Syria provides missiles and military equipment to Hizbollah. Cooperation between Syria and Iran is very close. I believe that if the president of Syria expresses seriousness, he will see that Israel will be ready to negotiate. For us the Golan Heights are very important for our security and our existence. But until now he has not shown any seriousness. He has not stopped his cooperation with Hizbollah, or closed the offices of the terrorist organizations in Damascus. Do you find that the rise of the more radical Islam has changed your country’s challenges, in the fact that your rival is no longer just a political one. Over the space of the last generation we have signed peace treaties with Egypt and the Hashemite Kingdom (Jordan). The trend in the Arab world is positive in the long run. But over the past year some developments have been very destructive, such as the announcement by President (Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad of Iran that Israel has no right to exist, or his attempts to deny the Holocaust. There is a very great danger that the Muslim world accepts that he is right. For a long time we tried to give the Muslim world the message that we are part of the Middle East. We want good relations with the Arab world and we have made some progress in that direction. I expected, for example, that Muslim spiritual leaders would speak out against suicide bombers who shed blood in the name of Allah, in the name of the Koran. I am sure the Koran is against it. But no one stood up and said so. I hoped that we might see constructive elements in the Arab world in order to enable us to achieve reconciliation. I believe we can do it. I believe that peace between the Palestinian authorities and the Israelis is valid, its close to us, we can touch it. The political gap between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government was very small in the last year. It was never so small. It depends very much on whether they stop terrorism.