Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz spoke at Yale University on Wednesday. In his speech he linked the Nazi atrocities to the Iranian threat: "Israel will not tolerate a nuclear Iran; and I'd like to believe that the rest of the world will not allow it to happen. All is fair in the efforts to make sure it doesn't' happen."
Mofaz arrived in the US as the minister charged with Israel's strategic dialogue with the US. The transportation minister held several meetings with US officials regarding the Iranian threat, including one with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
"Israel is marking the Holocaust Remembrance Day," he told his Yale crowd. "We've all learned that history can sometimes repeat itself. This time we have the responsibility to make sure history will never, ever repeat itself.
"The Iranian regime is the number one threat to mankind in the 21st century. It is a multi-dimensional, multi-armed threat, which increases every day, every hour."
Taking the diplomatic route at this time is the best thing to do, he said, "But we must set two timetables – one for rating the Iranian progress and the other to rate the effects of the sanctions. Should those two prove mutually exclusive, we mustn't exclude any of our options.
Time is running out
"We have to be ready for any scenario," he continued. "This is a historical time in human history, in the life of a nation, of a people. The Jewish people know this better than everyone. No leader will be able to say, 'We didn't know, we didn't understand.' This time the entire world, and Israel in it, will have to take the initiative and do whatever it takes to make sure the next generations will enjoy a future of peace and prosperity."
Time is running out, he warned his audience, and the sanctions must be enforced: "Appeasement has not proved an efficient policy and in the Middle East it is perceived as weak… The situation in Iran is dire and I believe that in that kind of a reality the change can grow from within.
"As someone who was born in Iran and is closely watching it, I can assure you that the Iranian people do not share their regime's aspirations. I am a great believer in the power of the Iranian people. Iran is no stranger to revolution… The Iranian regime is trying to maneuver its long-term aspirations with the need to survive. We believe that only heavy international political and financial pressure – which would reflect the contradiction between the two – could make Iran change course."
Iran, concluded Mofaz, sees getting its hands of nuclear technology as means to procure regional supremacy and international clout.
"This is a threat to the very existence of the Jewish state. The (uranium) enrichment program is the pivotal point which will set the course for nuclear development. The coming year is critical – our assessments show it is a matter of months, less than a year, before Iran gets hold of enrichment technology and will be able to create uranium suitable for a nuclear bomb."