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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Israel remains part of an international coalition against a nuclear Iran, acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Saturday, suggesting Israel would not act alone against Teheran.
Olmert spoke after a former IDF chief of general staff, Moshe Ya'alon, said Israel and the West have the ability to launch a military strike that could set back Iran's nuclear program for years. Ya'alon was widely criticized for the remarks, with some saying he was drawing unnecessary attention to Israel's capabilities.
Olmert said in comments broadcast Saturday on Israel Radio that Israel is part of an international alliance against Iran. "In the end, we want to cause the international community to prevent the Iranians from developing non-conventional capabilities," he said.
Israel TV had reported Thursday that Ya'alon, who retired last June after a 37-year military career, told an audience in Washington that Israel has the capacity to carry out a military strike against Iran by itself.
Ya'alon told Israel TV on Friday that he stood by his earlier comments, but he didn't repeat his reported assertion that Israel had the capacity to attack Iran's nuclear program alone.
"I spoke about the military option of the West, whether it's US forces, NATO, also the Israeli army that deal with the Iranian capability," Yaalon said. "There is a military capability that will set back the program for many years."
Israel considers Iran one of its top enemies and says Iran's nuclear program is meant to produce weapons. Tehran says the nuclear program is for energy production. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for Israel to be wiped "off the map."
Although Israel has backed international efforts to get a resolution against Iran's nuclear plans passed in the UN Security Council, it has tried to maintain a low profile, preferring to let its main ally, the United States, take the lead.