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Iran’s New President Refers to Israel’s Nuclear Warheads
There has been a longstanding double standard in the Middle East that keeps Israel armed as the sixth most nuclear country in the world, but Iran bullied and brow-beat over any suggestion at nuclear capacity. This situation was gestured at, without Israel being named, by Iran’s new president, Hasan Rouhani, in his address to the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday.
“Iran’s nuclear program — and for that matter, that of all other countries — must pursue exclusively peaceful purposes,” he said, though not mentioning Israel directly.
Israel’s current military policy is called “nuclear ambiguity” and amounts to having stacks of nuclear weapons — it is estimated they have 80 warheads — but not reporting on the matter to the rest of to the world. The possibility that they are armed, which is never officially addressed, is meant to keep enemies at bay.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu characterized his enemies as scheming and calculating, saying that Rouhani’s address to the West was a mere ploy to ease international sanctions and give them time to assemble a nuclear bomb. In response, he wishes the international scene — primarily, the U.S. – to increase pressure on Iran until they dismantle their nuclear program.
Though Iran lead an international conference in Finland to declare the Middle East a “nuclear weapons-free zone,” the U.S. foiled the attempt, so that Israel could save face.
Ephraim Asculai, former official to the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, said Israel isn’t budging on its bombs. “As long as there is no peace with our enemies, why should Israel make a step forward on that?” he asked, according to the Associated Press.
As Shlomo Aronson, an expert on Israel’s nuclear program at the Hebrew University, said, “There is an international acceptance that Israel has no choice but to depend on its nuclear power without talking about it. In today’s power relations, where there are 6 million Jews against 400 million Arabs … Israel has no choice but to be an undeclared nuclear power.” Alternatively, they could have no choice but to disband, given they are not in control of international regulations. But that’s up to future negotiations.Iran's New President Refers to Israel's Nuclear Warheads by Daniel June