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Minister: Iran Nuclear Program Could be Destroyed in 'Hours'

Minister for Strategy says ‘a few hours of airstrikes’ would end Iran’s nuclear ambitions if pressure fails.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 8/9/2013, 11:45 AM

Israeli warplane
Israeli warplane
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The international community must make it clear to Iran that it has only two options: end its nuclear program voluntarily, or “see it destroyed with brute force,” Minister of Strategic Affairs Yuval Steinitz has said, speaking to the Washington Post.

Demolishing Iran’s nuclear program by force is entirely possible, he said, estimating that it would take “a few hours of airstrikes, no more.”

He was not overly concerned with the possibility that Iran could fire missiles on Israel in response to an international attack on its facilities. Such an attack would cause “very limited damage,” he said, explaining that Israel would be able to intercept most of the missiles.

Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, has expressed willingness to negotiate with the international community over his country’s nuclear program.

However, Israeli leaders have warned the world against being convinced by Rouhani’s public statements. “Of course he wants more talks. He wants to talk and talk and talk. And while everybody is busy talking to him, he’ll be busy enriching uranium,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned this week in a meeting with U.S. lawmakers.

“This isn't a secret. The new Iranian president boasts that that is his strategy,” he added.

Steinitz agreed. “Rouhani is charming, he is cunning, and he will smile all the way to the bomb,” he told the Post.

Netanyahu has called on the international community to respond by maintaining the pressure on Iran.

“Iran's president said that pressure will not help to dissuade him from developing nuclear weapons. But we see that over the past two decades, the only thing that has helped has been pressure,” he said.