Netanyahu: 'We won't be able to deter nuclear Iran'

Speaking in Jerusalem conference, Netanyahu also says "prosperity brings peace, not the opposite."

bib idc 224.88 (photo credit: Courtesy IDC Herzliya / Shalem Center)
bib idc 224.88
(photo credit: Courtesy IDC Herzliya / Shalem Center)
"Iran will be the first nuclear state in history against which deterrence won't work, even if the deterrent is nuclear," Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu said Wednesday at an international conference titled "Russia, the Middle East and the Challenge of Radical Islam." The conference was held at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem under the auspices of the center's Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies and the Eurasian Institute of the Inter-Disciplinary Center, Herzliya. "Nothing will stop the Iranians - not the use of force and not a fear of being hit in retaliation," he said, adding that "every Israeli withdrawal from territories it controls leaves room for Iranian terror to enter." Netanyahu added that "if in the past, Hizbullah was a state within the state of Lebanon, it seems today that the government of Lebanon is a state within a Hizbullah stronghold." "In the last 30 years, we have been living in a world where Sunni extremists succeed in attacking targets in the Western world, while on the other hand, Shi'ite Iran is rapidly advancing to the point of no return in its nuclear aspirations," the Likud leader said. Regarding the conflict with the Palestinians, Netanyahu said there was "no chance that moderate factors in the Palestinian Authority will succeed in halting terror or replacing Israeli forces in securing the territory. Israel should ensure its safety on its own and provide Palestinians with the financial growth they aspire to, in order to create real peace partners." Netanyahu finished his speech by stating that "unlike the common belief that peace will bring about financial improvement, history teaches us that the opposite is far truer." Opening the session before Netanyahu, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Navarov, who heads the North America Bureau in the Russian Foreign Ministry, said, "Russia understands that the security of one state cannot be based on upsetting the security of others." Responding to a question by one of the other members of the panel, Navarov said that "Russia will not make use of its nuclear capabilities, and there is an acute need to find other solutions to the problems the world is facing." However, in a statement seemingly critical of Navarov's stance, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad, head of the Defense Ministry's Diplomatic-Security Bureau, said that "Russia holds a central role in establishing security in the Middle East, but is no less responsible for the lack thereof." Dr. Peter Gladkov, a former Putin adviser and expert on Russian policy, criticized the policy of the United States under President George W. Bush, saying that "the US's attempt to gain influence in Eurasia in fact expresses a similar characteristic in American policy against Russia. Over time, such a policy can undermine the equilibrium in Eurasian countries because the developments the US is pushing are not always in line with the region's needs." Gladkov's comments were echoed in part by Prof. Uzi Arad, director of the Institute for Policy and Strategy in the IDC, who said NATO was putting too much emphasis on expanding the alliance - a preoccupation that, he said, was pushing subjects such as the Iranian threat to a low priority at the expense of a struggle between the US and Russia over their international influence. Maj.-Gen. Giora Eiland, meanwhile, accused the US of "not putting a stop to the Iranian threat because this is not one of its top priorities. If the US really wanted to stop Iran, it would not waste its time on... setting up missiles in Eastern Europe. This behavior makes Russia, too, avoid entering the Iranian issue, and the US is well aware of this reality." According to former Russian foreign minister Igor Ivanov, Russia was "not initiating negotiations with Iran, but ensures communication channels remain open considering the situation created by the EU and the UN. Russia will avoid talking to Iran if some other country picks up the gauntlet. It [Russia] does not see itself as initiating disputes or negotiations, but as an arbiter between different groups." However, Labor MK Ephraim Sneh, who served as deputy defense minister under Amir Peretz, called Russia "the Iranian Empire's No. 1 weapons supplier," saying it "in fact arms the forces most hostile to Israel today. This is totally against the role the new Russia should be filling in the regional and international arenas." He added that "escalation in the ongoing confrontation between Israel and Iran and its proxies is inevitable. This confrontation is part of a wider confrontation between western democracy and Islamic fascism, and the Russian leadership will have to pick sides - the sooner the better." Closing his address, Sneh directly attacked the Russian regime: "Iran's ballistic missiles have a range of 3,500 kilometers. Take a map and a ruler and see where they reach. Also, in all of its wars, Israel was forced to fight against Russian weaponry in the hands of its enemies. If the Russians want to profit from continuing these sales, they should insist next time on getting cash."