Olmert: Ready for US-Iran talks
Ahead of his meeting with President Bush, prime minister gives interview to NBC's Today Show. Asked if he would accept direct negotiations between Washington and Tehran, he says any compromise preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons will be acceptable to Israel
The prime minister made the remarks in an interview with NBC's Today Show, which will be broadcast on Monday.
"I am not looking for wars. I am not looking for confrontations. I'm looking for the outcome. This campaign will be tested in only one way – whether it will succeed to stop Iran from possessing nuclear weapons," he said in the interview.
"Every compromise that will stop Iran from acquiring nuclear capabilities which will be acceptable to President Bush will be acceptable to me," Olmert added.
Olmert is expected on Monday evening to meet with President Bush at the White House.
Also on Monday, the special committee dealing with the Iraq issue, headed by former US Secretary of State James Baker, is also expected to meet with the president. One of the recommendations which will be submitted to Bush will be to hold direct negotiations with Iran and Syria.
Asked how long before Iran obtains a nuclear bomb, Olmert answered that it will be sooner than most people think, but refused to say exactly when this would take place.
Instead of measuring the time in days and weeks, it is obvious that we must unite forces in order to stop Iran's attempts because this is a serious and dangerous matter for many countries, and Israel is one of them, he said.
"This is not an issue of Israel only. It is a moral issue of the whole world and the whole world has to stop it," Olmert said.
Livni: World needs to wake up in face of Iran
In another interview, this time with the US Newsweek magazine, published on Saturday, Olmert said Iran must understand that if it fails to cooperate with the international community, it will “pay dearly."
This is the first time in many years that the official leader of a major nation with more than 70 million citizens has talked publicly and officially of the liquidation of another nation that is a member of the United Nations,” Olmert told Newsweek.
“(Iranian President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad is a man who is ready to commit crimes against humanity, and he has to be stopped.
"When Hitler began to talk about the liquidation of the Jewish race, people heard it. But they hardly did anything to stop it. And then for generations, nations and leaders had to explain why they didn't speak up. So we have to have a world campaign to emphasize the moral commitment that no one will be able to ignore what he says and what the possible ramifications may be."
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni also addressed the Iranian issue on Sunday night. Speaking at the United Jewish Communities (UJC) General Assembly in Los Angeles, Livni urged the international community to snap out of its indifference in the face of the Iranian nuclear plan.
“Together, we face challenges on three different fronts,” Livni told the Jewish leaders, “as a people defending our basic right to a national homeland; as Jews against the dark hatred of anti-Semitism; and as members of the free world against the forces of global terror.”
The foreign minister elaborated, “In each case, what is at stake is not just our physical security or existence but our very right to a Jewish national identity and a place our people can call home. These three fronts have come together in the case of Iran.”
News agencies contributed to the report