'Israel will act against Iran's nuke programme''Israel will act against Iran's nuke programme'
If Washington and its allies do not stop Iran's nuclear programmes by force if necessary, Israel will, three Israeli legislators visiting the United States have warned. "Israel will not live under the threat of an Iranian nuclear bomb," said Yosef Lapid, head of the Shinui Party. Lapid and his colleagues, Yuval Steinitz and Arieh Eldad said conventional diplomacy will not work with Iran. "They won't be stopped unless they are convinced their programmes will be destroyed if they continue," they said. Steinitz said Israeli officials estimate Tehran is only two to three years away from developing a nuclear bomb. Eldad said Israelis across the political spectrum see Iran as the most serious threat to Israel, one that cannot be ignored. Eldad conceded that there could be problems if Israel acted - "If we have to do it, we will do it. If the United States and the world community do it, there is a chance the issue can be contained. If Israel has to do it alone, there is no chance the conflict can be contained."
Who will be the first to blink?
Iran threatened economic retaliation against all countries voting not to let its nuclear program continue. The Islamic republic singled out India, voicing "surprise" over its backing of an International Atomic Energy Agency resolution that would send Tehran's case to the U.N. Security Council. But Patrick Clawson, deputy director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told United Press International he believed there was little Iran could really do to strike back economically. "Sanctions from Iran would not work," said Mr. Clawson, as Iran needs all the business it can get. "It is quite clear in retrospect that A.Q. Khan [father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb] initially had interest in getting 'an Islamic bomb,' or at least the technology to Iran," Mr. Clawson said. "He provided them with important assistance." The rest came from the Chinese government and, Mr. Clawson says, from unemployed former Soviet nuclear scientists. Today Tehran feels it is in a position of power on the nuclear issue because it believes it already has Russia's and China's assurances any "anti-Iran" resolution in the Security Council would be vetoed, leaving the United States stranded with a dead resolution and no power to enforce it. Iran, meanwhile, is playing a dangerous game of "chicken" with the United States, hoping Washington blinks first.