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Yaalon: Iran World's Number One Threat

Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Yaalon criticized Western 'hesitancy' in dealing with Iran saying the military option must be credible
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 3/23/2012, 2:45 PM

Moshe "Bogie" Yaalon
Moshe "Bogie" Yaalon
Reuters

Vice Premier and Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Yaalon said Thursday that Iran's nuclear program is the leading global security threat.

"The main threat to regional and world stability comes from Tehran and the Iranian regime." Yaalon stressed during the visit referred to in high school in Kiryat Haim.

"Imagine what it would do upon achieving such capability," Yaalon said, adding "The nuclear umbrella will not just open against us, but against the United States."

"What if they put a dirty bomb in Manhattan, Los Angeles, or the Port of Haifa? This could come to pass if Iran obtains military nuclear capability. The whole world understands this today - and in recent months it has risen to the top of the global agnda.

"Given that everyone agrees we should stop [Iran's] nuclear program, we must convey our determination to impose sanctions backed up by a strong and credible military threat. If Iran feels the genuine pressure of a threat, it will act rationally. When you threaten their survival, they become irrational," Yaalon said.

However, Yaalon was highly critical of what he described as the West's "hesitancy" in dealing with Tehran.

"On the one hand the West has levied sanctions, which is good," Yaalon said. "But, on the other hand, the West hesitates because they worry over rising oil prices. Iranians call this fear and manipulate them, threatening a crisis in the Straits of Hormuz - threatening a sharp rise in prices fuel."

As a result the West just "wants to intensify sanctions rather than strike and see gas prices rise. It is better to pay more for gasoline now than when Iran becomes a nuclear power and can directly control oil prices," he said.

As for the military option, Yaalon said "the West wants to avoid a confrontation and we must confront them about it. The military option is a last resort, but we must make it clear the threat is serious. If no one else will act, we have no choice but to do it ourselves."

"It does not matter whether we attack or coalition forces led by the US attack, there is no doubt that the Iranians will strike at Israel either way," he added.