Israel has traditionally avoided speaking publically about its nuclear policy but an exception has been noted this week when the Israeli delegate at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) gave a speech at the organization's General Conference in Vienna Wednesday.
Dr. Shaul Chorev, head of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC), slammed Iran and Syria for their "clandestine pursuit of nuclear weapons", opposed a Middle East disarmament conference and welcomed a safety inspection at Israel's Soreq nuclear center.
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Addressing the Fukushima nuclear accident, Chorev said that Israel has formally asked the IAEA to conduct a safety assessment at the Soreq Nuclear Research Center.
Dimona reactor. Closed facility (Photo: AFP)
The Soreq center is under IAEA inspection while the Dimona reactor, which according to foreign reports manufactures nuclear weapons, is a closed facility. "This safety mission will benefit all concerned in Israel, including the general public. It will also manifest the operation of Israel's nuclear centers according to high safety standards which are compatible with IAEA standards," he said.
Chorev opened his speech with a survey of the situation in the Middle East, focusing on Iran and Syria's efforts to obtain nuclear weapons. "Israel does not remain indifferent in view of such direct and blunt threats. Israel is competent to deter its enemies and defend itself," he stated.
Chorev expressed his strong opposition to plans for a 2012 conference on Middle East disarmament citing a history of violations of international treaties by "despotic" Middle Eastern regimes in pursuit of obtain nuclear weapons.
Soreq Nuclear Research Center (Photo: Tal Shahar)
"No diplomatic or political campaign in the international institutions, for whatever motivations or purposes, could compensate for the acute deficit created for decades by non-compliance, proliferation, violence and terrorism practiced by those regimes," he remarked.
"Any initiative to promote the 2012 conference on the Middle East is futile."
"The Arab states have requested to include in the General Conference's agenda, the same ill-motivated item titled 'Israeli nuclear capabilities.' The majority of the General Conference rejected the resolution in 2012…Yet the Arab states and their supporters try once again to impose their own agenda.
"Needless to say the product of a repeated anti-Israeli initiative could neither be trust among Middle East regional parties nor promotion of genuine arms control."
Chorev also commented on recent outrage expressed by Jordan's King Abdullah over the fact that Israel allegedly disrupts Jordan's peaceful nuclear program. "Israel supports the uses of nuclear power by its neighbors, to meet their energy and water needs," he said.
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