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Yaalon: Iran More Worrisome than Before

Defense Minister tells visiting German defense minister Iran is no longer isolated diplomatically.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 2/25/2014, 1:45 PM

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon tours the Jordan Valley
Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon tours the Jordan Valley
Flash 90

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon met Tuesday with the visiting German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen in his Tel Aviv bureau. The two met in Berlin last month.

Yaalon told von der Leyen that Israel is following the changes in the region with concern. “Our main worry is the Iranian regime, and today we are more worried than we were in the past. We recognize that the Iranian regime understands that on the one hand, it has an opportunity to develop and improve the economy, and on the other hand, to become a nuclear threshold state. We are concerned that Iran will escape the pressure, among other reasons – because they are no longer diplomatically isloated and they are beginning to enjoy relief in sanctions. The Iranians would like to preserve the ability to enrich uranium to 3.5% – which will allow them to continue to develop a military nuclear weapon.”

"The Iranian missiles presently cover all of Israel and parts of Europe, and the regime in Tehran intends to develop and produce missiles that will also reach the United States. The Iranian regime continues to distribute arms throughout the Middle East, and causes instability in the region and even beyond it. This is a hostile rogue regime that seeks to undermine world order and acquire influence and hegemony in the region and beyond, and to play for time in the diplomatic negotiations with the powers.”

Regarding negotiations with the Palestinian Authority (PA), Yaalon said that it is PA head Mahmoud Abbas who is currently making it difficult to advance. “We must not lose hope because [optimism] is part of our DNA,” he explained, “but on the other hand we must not delude ourselves, and we will know how to handle any situation.”

Regarding Gaza, Yaalon said: “Hamas currently depends on us and receives supplies from us. This is an absurd situation: it gets electricity from us, and with this electricity it manufactures rockets and missiles that it seeks to fire at the Israel power station that supplies it with electricity. It's absurd. But we know how to handle Hamas and deter it.”