Israel to Iran: Jewish State Can Defend Itself
A senior Israeli official warned Iran on Wednesday to stop its “direct and blunt threats” against his country, telling a 155-nation nuclear conference the Jewish state is ready to defend itself against any nation that menaces its existence.
Israeli nuclear chief Shaul Chorev avoided any suggestion that his country was contemplating a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities — a scenario that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is increasingly suggesting may be necessary to stop what he says is Tehran’s path toward atomic arms.
Still, Chorev’s hard-edged comments to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s annual general conference were another reminder of the enmity between the archrivals that have led to highly charged tensions the United States and others fear may spiral into armed conflict.
Iran denies any interest in owning nuclear weapons. It says it is enriching uranium solely to make reactor fuel and for medical research. But Israel, which is widely considered to have such arms, asserts Tehran wants ultimately to enrich to levels higher than reactor grade to create weapons-grade material used to arm warheads.
Israel, the United States, and allies of the two nations have provided intelligence to the IAEA on alleged Iranian nuclear weapons research and development, and while Iran dismisses the intelligence as fabricated, the IAEA takes the allegations seriously.