Nuke-capable Tehran to ‘trigger arms race’

Nuke-capable Tehran to ‘trigger arms race’

Nuke-capable Tehran to ‘trigger arms race’

French President Hollande (L) welcomes Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in Paris. Two leaders talk on tightening sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program. REUTERS photo

Israel has warned that an Iran possessing nuclear weapons would trigger an arms race in the Middle East forcing regional countries, including Turkey, to turn nuclear.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in an interview with Daily Telegraph on Oct. 30 that if Iran succeeded in acquiring nuclear weapons it would “make any non-proliferation regime impossible. Saudi Arabia would turn nuclear within weeks – according to them. Turkey would go nuclear in several years. The new Egypt would have to follow.” The world would start a “countdown” to the “nightmare” of “nuclear material ending up in the hands of terrorist groups,” Barak said.

He also said Iran was set to reach the “zone of immunity” - where it would be invulnerable to the striking power of Israel’s air force - by next spring or early summer. Barak said Israel reserved the right to act alone in any intervention in Iran. He said any “operation against Iran” would be less dangerous “now” than when the country had crossed the nuclear threshold.

Iran has publicly drawn back from its ambition to build a nuclear weapon but the respite is only temporary, according to Barak. He said “moment of truth” had only been delayed by “eight to 10 months.”

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held his first meeting with French President François Hollande yesterday, seeking to push for tougher sanctions against Iran. Netanyahu called for “The sanctions ... unfortunately they have not stopped the Iranian program.”

Arabs will benefit from strike on Iran: Netanyahu

Hollande said he wanted “concrete acts and gestures” from Iran to show it was not pursuing nuclear arms, adding that he backed “other sanctions” if Tehran failed to do so, Agence France-Presse reported. “This is a threat which cannot be accepted by France,” he said.

A day before his visit to France, Netanyahu said an Israeli strike on Iran would benefit Arab states. “Five minutes after [a strike], contrary to what the skeptics say, I think a feeling of relief would spread across the region.”