Dan Meridor speaks with US President Obama in Seoul 370 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Larry Downing)
Intelligence Agencies Minister Dan Meridor said Tuesday that the United States
understands that Iran cannot be allowed to proliferate nuclear weapons despite
sanctions against it, as was the case with North Korea.
the policy of Washington,” he said.
Meridor was speaking with Israel
Radio from Seoul, where he is representing Israel at the Nuclear Security
The main theme of the summit is preventing nuclear weapons from
falling into the hands of what US President Barack Obama called “bad actors.”
The Iranian nuclear issue has also been at the center of discussions on the
sidelines of the conference.
Meridor spoke with Israel Radio following a
meeting with the US president.
“The line that Obama draws is clear – both
with North Korea and with Iran,” he said, but declined to discuss what was said
behind closed doors.
The US, he added, would attempt to convince Russia
to add on to the pressure already being applied to Iran, including the current
implementation of international sanctions.
Earlier Tuesday, Obama
discussed the risks of unsecured nuclear materials.
materials are still vulnerable in too many places,” he said. “It would not take
much, just a handful or so of these materials, to kill hundreds of thousands of
innocent people and that’s not an exaggeration – that’s the reality that we
Six world powers are expected to renew efforts next month to talk
Tehran into curbing its uranium enrichment, which can yield fuel for atomic
warheads as well as for civilian projects.
Iran denies having any hostile
Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon said the mid- April
talks would show “if there is a chance that the sanctions are working or that
the Iranians are continuing to maneuver and advance toward a military nuclear
But when asked during an interview with Army Radio if this
meant that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government might be just weeks
away from launching a war against Iran, Ya’alon demurred.
“No. Look, we
have to see,” he said. “The [Iranian nuclear] project is not static – whether
that means progress, or sometimes, retreat. All sorts of things are happening
“Sometimes there are explosions there, sometimes there are worms,
viruses, all kinds of things like that,” Ya’alon said, suggesting that setbacks
plaguing Iran over the past three years, including the assassination of several
of its scientists and the Stuxnet malware that stymied core computer systems,
could be repeated.
Obama, who inaugurated the first nuclear security
summit in Washington in 2010, warned against “complacency” in preventing loose
nuclear material from getting into the hands of terrorist groups.
legacy of the Soviet Union’s breakup, inadequate atomic stockpile controls and
the proliferation of nuclear-fuel technology mean the world has lost precise
count of atomic material, which could be used to make a weapon.
at least 2 million kilograms of stockpiled weapons-grade nuclear material left
over from decommissioned bombs and atomic-fuel plants, according to the
International Panel on Fissile Materials, a New Jersey-based nonprofit research
institute that tracks nuclear material. That is enough to make at least 100,000
new nuclear weapons – on top of the 20,000 bombs already in weapon states’
Because a terrorist needs only about 25 kilograms of
highlyenriched uranium or eight kilograms of plutonium to improvise a bomb, the
margin of error when it comes to accounting for the material is
“The threat remains,” Obama said. “That’s why what’s required
continues to be a serious and sustained effort.”Reuters contributed to