'Israel Has the Ability to Defend Itself'

The head of Israel's Nuclear Energy Commission, Shaul Horev, warns Iran that Israel can defend itself on its own.

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Elad Benari,

IAEA officials
IAEA officials

The head of Israel's Nuclear Energy Commission, Shaul Horev, said on Wednesday that Israel has the ability to defend itself on its own.

Horev made the remarks during a speech to the annual meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Channel 10 News reported.

Horev, whose comments came in the wake of repeated threats by the Iranian leadership to destroy Israel, did not specifically mention an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. However, his speech more than hinted that the verbal confrontation between Jerusalem and Tehran could escalate into a military confrontation.

He added that Syria and Iran are known for their constant attempts to acquire nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction. Horev stated that the Middle East is not yet ready for a declaration that it will be a nuclear-free zone. “Such a move would be possible only when peaceful relations prevail between countries in the region for a long time and, currently, the relations in the region are far from peaceful,” he said.

Last week the UN atomic agency's board approved, with a crushing majority, a resolution criticizing Iran.

The resolution expresses "serious concern that Iran continues to defy" UN Security Council resolutions for it to suspend uranium enrichment, a process which can be used for peaceful purposes but also in a nuclear weapon.

It also highlights the International Atomic Energy Agency's complaint that activities at the Parchin base near Tehran, where it suspects nuclear weapons research took place, would “significantly hamper” inspectors should Iran let them visit.

The resolution stops short of a referral of Iran to the Security Council, but it is significant in that Western nations were able to get Moscow and Beijing on board as they are traditionally more lenient on Tehran, with China a major buyer of Iranian oil and Russia having close commercial ties with Iran.