Daily Israel Report

Yaalon Says 'All Means' Must be Used to Block Iran Threat

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon speaks to reporters after talks with visiting US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
By AFP and Arutz Sheva
First Publish: 5/15/2014, 5:42 PM

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said Thursday that the Jewish state and its US ally should be prepared to use "all means" to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapons capability.

"I believe that it should be in the first priority of each of us to deal with this threat by all means, in all fields," Moshe Yaalon told reporters after talks with visiting US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

The Pentagon chief's visit came as the United States and other major powers pressed talks with Iran on a long-term agreement to allay international concerns about its nuclear ambitions.

Israel has strongly opposed the negotiations with its arch-enemy, and has said repeatedly that it is prepared to go it alone if necessary with preemptive military action against Iran's nuclear facilities.

"I believe the United States and Israel share the same goal -- not to allow a military nuclear Iran," Yaalon said.

"We might have differences, even disputes regarding how to get it [done], but we have the open channels, the secretary of defense and myself. The bottom line is that Israel should be ready to defend itself, by itself."

Hagel said the negotiations between the powers and Iran were not open-ended – the parties are working to a July 20 target for an agreement.

He said Washington was continuing to cooperate closely with its Israeli ally on the Iran issue, even while the negotiations continued.

"Because we're on a diplomatic track... does not preclude all of the other security and defense measures that we continue to pursue outside that diplomatic track, including this relationship with Israel," he said.

Hagel was on the last leg of a Middle East tour that also took him to Saudi Arabia, which has its own concerns about the nuclear talks with its regional rival.

Arutz Sheva strategy analyst Mark Langfan noted that Israel and Saudi Arabia are forming a suprising security alliance, faced with an American policy of entente with Iran.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned that Iran "would share whatever (nuclear) technology it acquired with North Korea," in an interview with one of Japan's leading newspapers on Tuesday.

Speaking to Mainichi Shimbun during his visit to the country, Netanyahu remarked that in the ongoing negotiations with world powers, Iran is seeking "the capacity to make nuclear weapons. ...The outcome, if that happens, would be very bad, and it would be like North Korea."

When asked about the sharing of intelligence material between Israel and Japan regarding Iran and North Korea, Netanyahu acknowledged "we have close consultations, I would say, and I think that's only natural." 

Netanyahu added that world powers "should insist that Iran stops developing ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles), in addition to dismantling its capacity to make atomic bombs and atomic warheads." He said developing ICBMs "is obviously an indication of their plan to have nuclear weapons."

"Whatever (nuclear technology) they have they will share with North Korea," warned Netanyahu. "If Iran gets to a point where it's very close to...the production of nuclear weapons, then this will immediately cause other countries in the Middle East to...go for nuclear weapons too, so the Middle East would turn into a very dangerous place."