Don’t Bow to Iran, Israel Warns Washington

Israel urged the United States and the European Union Tuesday to maintain a zero-tolerance policy towards Iran over the Islamic republic’s nuclear programme.

Iran resumed activities Monday at a uranium conversion facility in the central city of Isfahan, triggering a crisis with the international community.

“Iran made this decision because they are getting the impression that the United States and the Europeans are spineless,” a senior official from Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s office told AFP on condition of anonymity.

“But this is precisely a time when the international community has to display the utmost determination in preventing Iran from acquiring the nuclear weapon,” the official added.

Foreign ministry spokesman Marc Regev urged the international community to “remain steadfast in its determination” to foil any Iranian plans to seek the bomb.

The UN nuclear watchdog was due to hold an emergency meeting in Vienna Tuesday to decide on possible sanctions against Iran, which has insisted its nuclear programme is only for peaceful energy purposes.

Israel itself is believed to be the only nuclear power in the Middle East. Although it has never admitted to having nuclear weapons, it is believed to possess an arsenal of about 200 warheads.