Iran appears to exercise a thoughtful and calculated approach to its nuclear program, which shows that
diplomacy can still be effective, former prime minister Ehud Olmert told CNN in
a brief video interview published on its website ahead of a more lengthy one due
to air in the US Monday night.
His comments come in the aftermath of
statements he made Sunday at The Jerusalem Post conference in New York against
rushing to launch a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Iranian leadership has not gone beyond a certain line for the time being in the
development of the nuclear program,” Olmert told CNN.
“That shows that
they are at least thoughtful, which means that they are not rushing, but they
are calculating their steps, being aware of the possible ramifications of what
they do to Iran itself, which is what we want them to understand,” he
Israel still needs to be prepared to defend itself militarily
against Iran, Olmert told CNN.
“We have to create the capacity to defend
ourselves,” he said.
At the same time, he added, “We have to encourage
the international community to be quiet, without talking so much, to take
measures and sanctions, economic pressure and so on and so forth.”
should not be a “rush for certain military actions [against Iran], which are not
essential at this point,” he added.
His comments come at a time when
former Mossad chief Meir Dagan and former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) head
Yuval Diskin have questioned the ability of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
and Defense Minister Ehud Barak to eliminate Iran’s nuclear program through
Iran has restarted negotiations with six world powers over the
broader dimensions of its nuclear program and the sides have agreed to meet
again in Baghdad on May 23.
Washington and its allies believe Tehran is
working on developing nuclear bombs.
Tehran insists its activities have
only civilian energy purposes and has refused to stop enriching uranium, despite
a slew of sanctions.
The UN Security Council has demanded that Iran
suspend all enrichment activity but Western diplomats have indicated the
immediate priority is to get it to halt the higher-grade work.
contributed to this report.