Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon this week told the Iranian people by radio that a regional war initiated by Teheran was a distinct possibility, adding that "Israel is committed to defending its citizens and if attacked will act accordingly."  The comments, released by the Foreign Ministry in Hebrew on Tuesday, came during a Farsi-language broadcast on Israel Radio in which Ayalon addressed the people of Iran, taking calls and answering questions . The Farsi broadcast originally aired on Monday.

"A fear exists that Iran – as it becomes more pressured by sanctions – will goad those under its patronage in Hizbullah and Hamas to initiate military action against Israel. There’s also a possibility that Iran will make a military move against the Arab Gulf states and harm the flow of oil to the world, in which case the entire situation will degrade into widespread confrontations. Remember that the sanctions are aimed against Iran’s efforts to arm itself with nuclear weapons, and if they don’t elicit results, the United States and other nations might consider other options."

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Ayalon emphasized the fact that Israel's problems with Iran were not with the country's people, but rather with the Islamic Republic's regime.

"Israel bears no animosity towards the Iranian people. We have deep respect and aspire to cooperate with them to bring about a better reality in the region. The problem is intrinsic to the Iranian regime and its conduct, particularly regarding the nuclear issue. This is a regime that calls for 'Death to the United States, Great Britain and Israel'. The Iranian regime spreads instability, supports terror, and oppresses its own people. It is impossible to accept atomic weapons in the hands of such a regime.

"The Iranian reactor constitutes a tremendous danger to the stability of the entire region and to world peace in general because, besides nuclear armaments, Iran is also developing a missile system that threatens countries beyond the Middle East, such as Europe. Nuclear weapons in Iran’s hands will enable it to threaten all the Arab governments with its present means (subversive elements in various countries, agents, and so forth). Even now it controls bodies that function as a state within a state, in Lebanon, Yemen, the Palestinian Authority, and other places."

Ayalon called on the "oppressed" Iranian people to protest the dictatorial regime's repeated violations of its citizen's civil rights.

"This is an aggressive dictatorial regime, and all progressive elements throughout the world should take action against it, if only for that reason. Israel congratulates the Iranian people for their efforts to liberate themselves from the burden of the oppressive regime. At international forums, Israel has raised the issue of the suffering of the Iranian people and the cruelty of the regime ruling them. That is the main thing we can do for such an illustrious nation suffering from oppression. But in the end, it is the Iranian people themselves who must take their fate in their own hands and act to achieve their rights. The more the citizens of Iran increase their protest activities, the higher the international support will be."


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