Haviv Rettig – The Jerusalem Post June 29, 2005
Iran is committed to building a nuclear bomb, which would help it spread the Islamic revolution across the Middle East, Brig.-Gen. Yossi Kupperwasser, head of the IDF Intelligence Corps research division, said on Tuesday.
He was addressing a meeting of the Knesset Forum on the Middle East.
The bomb "will allow them [the Iranians] to carry out the purpose of the creation of the regime – exporting the revolution," Kupperwasser said. "They can't do it right now, but once they have the bomb, they will be able to do it."
"They hate the State of Israel," Kuperwasser told the forum. "The difference between them and the rest of the people in the Middle East [who hate Israel] is that they think something should be done about it. That's why they support Hamas. That's why they give money to Islamic Jihad."
In the week following Iran's election of virulently anti-Zionist Teheran mayor Mahmoud Ahmedinejad as president of Iran, Teheran's nuclear ambitions were the focus of the forum.
Following his victory, Ahmedinejad vowed to continue Iran's nuclear program and called Israel an "illegitimate" state.
The consensus among the experts assembled was that the Iranian regime is committed to developing nuclear power.
The forum, a nonpartisan parliamentary group sponsored by the Center for Near East Policy Research in Boston and the Jerusalem Project for Democracy in the Middle East, was created to give MKs and the diplomatic corps in Israel access to critical issues for Israeli security in the region.
Menashe Amir, director of the Farsi department at Israel Radio, speaking about the election of Ahmadinejad, said that "Iran is the most anti-Semitic regime in the world."
The way to prevent Iranian nuclear armament, he said, is "to topple the regime in Iran, to aid the Iranian people to become democratic."
The country "is ripe for change," added Amir, who said he runs a radio show that broadcasts to more than a million listeners inside and outside Iran.
MK Ephraim Sneh (Labor), a member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, told <>The Jerusalem Post<> that the Iranian people could bring down the regime only if the international community showed them that they would have the world's support.
"I support real international sanctions on the part of all the world's nations that will close this regime down and bring about its downfall," he said. When asked whether Israel might take the matter into its own hands with a unilateral military response to the threat, Sneh said a military strike "is not the preferred option."
Dr. Ephraim Asculai, senior research Associate of the Jaffe Center for Strategic Studies and formerly a member of Israel's Atomic Energy Commission, said Iran probably "has a concealed [nuclear] program that is running in parallel to the negotiations [with the European Union]."
Dr. Jerome Corsi, author of <>Atomic Iran<>, focused on the strategic implications of Iranian nuclear power for the US and the international community.
Addressing American strategic concerns, he told the forum that "the technical problems of sneaking a bomb into the US are solved when a state is making the bomb."
Col. (ret.) Dr. Eran Lerman, director of the Israel office of the American Jewish Committee, said that despite the fact that Iran "probably won't [use its nuclear weapons against Israel] immediately, a nuclear Iran coupled with the regime's deep involvement in terrorist networks creates a dangerous and unstable situation."
"Iran has an operational terrorist presence on our border in the form of Hizbullah, and it has penetrated deeply into the Palestinian arena through the Islamic Jihad, which is under its control, and through certain members of the Fatah," Lerman, a former senior IDF intelligence officer, told the <>Post. <>
"The Iranian threat is a function of the regime's publicly declared commitment to the annihilation of the State of Israel, a declaration that is accompanied by statements that reflect the most vulgar form of anti-Semitism," he added.
Last updated 08/07/2005