Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in an interview on Monday that the
alleged Israeli attack in Syria is the result of Zionist “weakness.”
an interview with Lebanese channel Al-Mayadeen, Ahmadinejad voiced his
aspirations to visit the Gaza Strip and pray in Jerusalem, adding that there is
no separation between Palestinian factions for Iran, and that Palestinian
Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is “always welcome” in Tehran.
Iranian president stated that Iran is always ready to assist the Palestinian
He also reiterated his country’s position on the Syria crisis,
stressing Syrian President Bashar Assad’s fate must be in the hands of the
The president of the Shi’ite Islamic Republic of Iran will
court Egypt’s top Sunni Muslim cleric at al-Azhar university on Tuesday in a
historic trip pointing to Tehran’s efforts to improve ties with an Arab state
now run by an Islamist.
Ahmadinejad will be the first Iranian head of
state to visit Egypt since the 1979 Iranian revolution. He is due to attend a
two-day Islamic summit in Cairo that begins on Wednesday.
to strike Iran’s nuclear program and send shock waves throughout the world are
“unhelpful,” and Jerusalem should lower its profile on the issue, director of
the Institute for National Security Studies, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, said
Yadlin, a former Military Intelligence chief, spoke at the
unveiling of the INSS’s strategic assessment for 2012-2013.
stressed that a nucleararmed Iran is more dangerous than an attack on the
He called on the government to “return to the
international community” and to better coordinate its position with the White
House over Iran. An understanding should be reached over the “required steps to
stop Iran, and who will take them,” Yadlin said. “Israel does not need to object
to a diplomatic solution, if it stops the [nuclear] clock.”
question, Yadlin argued, was how long it will take Iran to reach a nuclear
breakout phase from the time it would violate a diplomatic agreement. If a
couple of a years separate Iran from nuclear breakout, that would be a better
solution than a military attack, he said.
Iran is currently four to six
months away from nuclear breakout stage, if an order is given to reach that
phase now, Yadlin said.
He envisaged a diplomatic solution that would
allow Iran to possess 1,200 centrifuges.
Meanwhile, Iran’s Foreign
Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said on Monday he saw US Vice-President Joe Biden's
offer this weekend of bilateral dialogue between their two countries as a sign
of a change in approach to Iran by the US administration.
“As I have said
yesterday, I am optimistic.
I feel this new administration is really this
time seeking to at least divert from its previous traditional approach vis-a-vis
my country,” Salehi told the German Council on Foreign Relations in
Tehran insists its nuclear program is peaceful, but the West
suspects it is intended to give Iran the capability to build a nuclear
Salehi, who attended the Munich Security Conference at the weekend
where Biden made the offer, said in Berlin that it was still very difficult for
Tehran and Washington to trust each other.
“How do we trust again this
new gesture?” he said.
Salehi said he hoped Barack Obama would keep what
he said was a promise by the US president to “walk away from wars... and
approaches that bring destruction, killings, bloodshed.”
He did not
Yadlin turned his attention to the Palestinians, saying
Jerusalem should also better coordinate its position with Washington over the
Palestinian issue, adding that it was time for Israel to put forward a new
Yadlin proposed a “fair offer, along the Clinton
parameters, or the offer made by the Israeli government in 2008. We estimate
that the Palestinians will reject our offer,” Yadlin said.
happens, Israel will be able to shape its own borders,” he added, referring to a
unilateral step, but one which is based on lessons learned from errors committed
in the 2005 Gaza disengagement.
That means maintaining an IDF presence in
the Jordan Valley, to cut off weapons transfer points, unlike the abandonment of
the Gaza-Egypt border, which allowed Hamas and Islamic Jihad to import large
quantities of rockets after Israel left the strip.
“We are facing an
American administration that is maintaining a very good security-intelligence
dialogue with us,” Yadlin said. “Better than ever before,” he
Israel should also seek to forge relationships with new Sunni
powers, and work with them to isolate “the big enemy, which is Iran,” Yadlin
Israel’s deterrence is strong, and “the IDF is the strongest
military in the Middle East,” he added.
Syria will be busy with
rebuilding itself in the coming years, he assessed. The fact that Syria – a
major component of the Iranian-led regional axis – has been badly damaged has
resulted in a benefit for Israel’s strategic standing, Yadlin said.
of this is conditioned on renewing the diplomatic process with the
Palestinians,” he stressed.
Yadlin said Israel should seek to contain
small incidents along the borders, and “not let small organizations drag us into
“If there will be a war-type development in 2013... it will be in
our hands,” Yadlin said. He called on the government to be “more active” in
pursuing these goals.
Turning his attention to the reported air strikes
in Syria, Yadlin said that if Syria admitted it had attempted to transfer SA-17
anti-aircraft missiles to Hezbollah, it would be admitting to breaking a pledge
made to Russia to refrain from such proliferation.
Reuters and Jerusalem
Post staff contributed to this report.