Gillerman: Hamas may obtain WMDs
'Real fear is that Iran will provide terror organizations like Hamas, Hizbullah with weapons of mass destruction,' outgoing Israeli ambassador to UN says, adding ' Israel should do everything in its power, literally everything, to prevent that mad regime in Tehran from achieving nuclear weapons'
WASHINGTON - "The real fear is not that the Iranians will be crazy enough or stupid enough to launch a missile at Israel, but that they will have no compunction about providing rogue regimes and terror organizations like Hamas and Hizbullah with weapons of mass destruction," outgoing Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Gillerman told the New York Times Magazine, published Sunday.
The US media bid farewell to Gillerman in a series of flattering interviews that focused primarily on the Iranian threat. Newsweek quoted the envoy as saying that "I think Israel should do everything in its power, literally everything, to prevent that mad regime in Tehran … from achieving nuclear weapons. I believe it is Israel's responsibility to its people, but I believe also it is the responsibility of the international community.
"Iran is a threat not just to Israel but to world peace and security. It is up to the international community to act rather than to expect Israel to act," Gillerman told the weekly.
Asked by Newsweek if he would want to see Israel do something about Iran's nuclear program now, Gillerman said, "As Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, I believe that all diplomatic efforts have not yet been exhausted. There were three sanctions resolutions adopted by the Security Council. We know the Iranian leadership and the Iranian people were not indifferent to these resolutions. They were quite rattled, not just by the sanctions, but mainly by the unanimity. I don't think Iran wants to be a pariah state."
'Iran has a choice to make'
The ambassador warned that a – nuclear Iran would result in a nuclear arms race throughout the entire Middle East, saying "I have no doubt that if Iran is allowed to develop its nuclear program, many other countries in the region including Saudi Arabia and Egypt – will follow suit.
"Saudi Arabia is probably more threatened by Iran than Israel is. Iran has designs on Saudi Arabian oil," he said.
According to Gillerman, the fear of Iran is "actually making the (moderate Arab states) much more pragmatic and realistic about solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"They know that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not the core problem, but they know that if they do solve it, they will calm the streets and be able to align themselves against the real danger, which is Iran," he told Newsweek.
Turning his attention to Hizbullah, the Israeli ambassador said the Lebanese Shiite group was "back to its prewar strength and maybe even beyond it because it has not been made to disarm.
"The situation in southern Lebanon and on our northern border is very fragile – literally explosive," Gillerman said.
The United States said on Saturday after inconclusive talks in Geneva with Iran that Tehran had a choice between cooperation or conflict and negotiations could begin with Washington only if sensitive nuclear work ended.
Just before the talks began, Iran ruled out freezing its enrichment program. In Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Iran has two weeks to ''give a clear answer.''
''Iran has a choice to make: negotiation or further isolation,'' McCormack said.
News agencies contributed to the report