Olmert: Iran won't have a bomb, trust me

Former Prime Minister not going to run in upcoming elections. "I currently prefer the outsider position. Maybe one day I'll be back."

Yoni Kempinski ,

Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert
Marc Israel Sellem

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert spoke on Sunday at the Jerusalem Post conference in New York, and was not particularly concerned by the Iranian nuclear program.

"I doubt there will be a military confrontation," Olmert said in wake of the recent tensions between Tehran and Washington. "We saw in the past that this is a brilliant strategy that the American president adopted. He brings the atmosphere to tension to the point where it seems very threatening in order to force the other party to sit down for negotiations. It happened with North Korea, and he ended up being Kim Jong Un's friend.”

"I think he is hinting that he wants to sit down with the Iranians and negotiate with them ... I'm not sure Iran has an interest in fighting the US. We should not delude ourselves - if they enter a military confrontation, Iran will not be the victor and they know it," continued Olmert.

Olmert added, "In 2003 I was a member of [Ariel] Sharon's cabinet and we had regular briefings with the head of the Mossad, intelligence, and the Atomic Energy Commission, and we were updated on Iran's efforts to obtain nuclear weapons. The official estimate was that in 2008 Iran would have a nuclear bomb and we are now in the middle of 2019 and they do not yet have one. At that time, they did not have a bomb not because they did not want to, but because of things that were done quietly to prevent them from doing so."

"No one is interested in a military confrontation with the Iranians, and there are far more effective ways to prevent them from having nuclear capabilities,” he added. “Iran will not have a bomb. Trust me. Even though I am no longer in an official position, the fact that I was prime minister and faced a nuclear threat to Israel, [means that] what I am saying will be analyzed and examined. Nevertheless, I am absolutely convinced that Israel and the United States will take the necessary measures and that Iran will not have nuclear capability. But I'm not sure that a frontal military confrontation is the solution to this."

When asked about the possibility of running again in the upcoming elections, Olmert replied, "How many 'Ehuds' do you want in one election campaign (a reference to Ehud Barak’s planned political comeback -ed)? It’s a good idea, but many people will have to think about which Ehud they prefer. I currently prefer the position of the outsider. Maybe one day I'll be back, but for this election campaign, one Ehud is enough."