‘Israel is willing to hit Iran, even to delay nuke program’

Ambassador to US Michael Oren points to Osirak reactor in Iraq: “In the past, we have operated on the assumption that we can only gain a delay”; Uzi Dayan says Jerusalem hasn’t yet decided to strike.

Israel is willing to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities even if doing so only delays the Islamic Republic’s nuclear progress for a few years, Ambassador to Washington Michael Oren told Bloomberg News Wednesday. “One, two, three, four years are a long time in the Middle East – look what’s happened in the last year,” he said in reference to the ongoing upheaval throughout the Arab world.

He said that “in the past, we have operated on the assumption that we can only gain a delay.” When Israel struck at an Iraq reactor in 1981, the military assumption was “we would gain a delay of between one and two years on that program,” Oren said. “To this day, Iraq does not have a nuclear weapon.”

Oren, who described the Iranian nuclear threat as unprecedented in Israel’s 64-year existence, warned, however, that “diplomacy hasn’t succeeded” thus far in halting Iran’s atomic program, adding that “we’ve come to a very critical juncture where important decisions do have to be made.”

Asked about US assessments that an Israeli attack would delay Iran’s nuclear program for no more than two or three years, Oren said, “I’m not saying we agree or disagree. What I am saying is that – on the basis of our previous experience – is not an argument against.” MORE



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