Silvan Shalom on Iran.
(photo credit:AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS)
Israel and the US are “not at war” over Iran, despite the impression given by
the media, Vice Premier Silvan Shalom said on Wednesday.
“When I read the
newspapers, I found that we are having a war not with Iran, but with the United
States. There is no war with the United States,” he told the inaugural
conference of the Israeli Jewish Congress in Jerusalem.
“We see eye to
eye with America and most of the European countries that Iran should not have
“We are close allies and close friends. We will always
be close friends with America,” Shalom added.
The current dispute between
Israel and the US is about the timetable the international community is setting
regarding Iran’s nuclear program, Shalom said.
Israel believed there was
less time to counter the nuclear threat while other countries thought they had
“Israel will never tolerate Iran as a nuclear power and we
will do everything we can in order to prevent such an eventuality,” he
Tensions have escalated between Jerusalem and Washington over Iran
this week, amid reports that the White House had rejected an Israeli request for
a meeting between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
during Netanyahu’s visit to the US later this month.
Shalom also spoke
out against China and Russia for their stance on Iran’s nuclear program. He
accused Beijing and Moscow of engaging in geopolitical games by not supporting
sanctions against Iran in order to keep the US and the West from dominating the
“We will never live under the threat of a nuclear Iran, not
for Russia or China,” Shalom said. “They have they’re own
They’re afraid that if the Iranian regime falls so will
Syria and Hezbollah, and the Middle East will fall into the hands of the US and
Israel was caught up in this “super-power fight,” he
He said that current sanctions were having a significant affect on
the Iranian economy, but that even stricter measures need to be imposed to
convince the Iranian regime that “abandoning its nuclear program, not
persevering with it, was the only insurance against its own
Shalom noted, however, the particular impact of the EU embargo
on Iranian oil imports that went into effect in July, and said it was having a
serious impact on the Iranian economy and the rial, which he claimed had
depreciated by 80-100 percent in recent months.
Still, he called on the
international community to impose harsher sanctions.
The vice premier
said that despite the regime’s drive toward a nuclear weapon the numerous
non-Persian ethnic minorities in the country “all hate the ayatollahs’ regime
and all want to put an end to it.”
Approximately 60% of Iran’s population
are ethnically Persian, with the remaining 40% comprised of Azeris, Kurds and
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