Mofaz: Strike against Iran not on agenda
In interview with Newsweek defense minister says, ‘I believe for the time being the diplomatic channel is the main one, There is a chance that by putting pressure on Iran, a decision in U.N. Security Council will delay or stop Iranian nuclear capability; says Syria still supports Hizbullah financially despite withdrawal from Lebanon
Despite Iran’s call to wipe Israel off the map, as of now Israel is not contemplating an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told Newsweek during his U.S. visit.
“The military option is not on the agenda today,” Mofaz said.
“I believe for the time being the diplomatic channel is the main one, and the United States along with the European countries should put this on the table of the U.N. Security Council, to talk about sanctions and a very deep and large inspection of all Iran’s nuclear locations.
“There is a chance that by putting pressure on Iran, a decision in the U.N. Security Council will delay or stop an Iranian nuclear capability. What would satisfy us is that the Iranians do not reach a point of no return in enriching uranium. We have a few years until they reach this point (enrichment), and I hope the diplomatic effort will delay this.”
The defense minister added that Iran’s nuclear aspirations pose an international threat, and therefore it is up to the West to work toward resolving the issue.
“I can tell you that what (Iranian President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad said about erasing the state of Israel from the map, combined with Iran’s surface-to-surface missiles and the fact that they have a high desire for achieving nuclear power, is a real threat against the state of Israel but also against all the Western countries. Under the nuclear umbrella in the future (Iran) will be a threat to all the world,” he said
'Egypt can do more'
As to Iran’s support of various terror organizations, the defense minister said, “We know that the Iranians are supporting and harboring terror. They support Islamic Jihad, they support other terrorist organizations, including Hizbullah.
“Remember the Karin A, the ship we captured in January 2002. That occurred after (the late Palestinian President Yasir) Arafat met with representatives of Iran, and they produced a special line of armaments for the Palestinians. The goal was to send 50 tons of arms to the hands of the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinians promised the Iranians in return they would give them security for Iranian terror groups coming to Israel. This was the deal. We were very lucky to expose it.”
Mofaz also addressed Syria’s recent withdrawal from Lebanon, stating that, “they (Syria) support Hizbullah financially, and they are not allowing the Lebanese Army to come to the south of Lebanon to deal with security there.”
However, Mofaz expressed his satisfaction with the level of cooperation reached with the Egyptians.
“The disengagement was so rapid that they (the Egyptians) couldn’t prepare themselves for responsibility in this area. But since they took responsibility for the Philadelphi corridor (on the border between Gaza and Egypt), the amount of smuggling has decreased,” he said.
“There are still some measures they need to be taking, but the deployment of border guards is effective. And they are stopping the smuggling of arms and people from one side to the other. But still they have to do more.”