Olmert: All options on table regarding Iran

PM: Israel can't accept nuclear Iran, should use all means to stop it; Barak: Words don't stop missiles.

olmert fadc 224 AJ (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
olmert fadc 224 AJ
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned Monday that all options are on the table when it came to Israel's need to defend itself against a nuclear Iran. He told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that "anything that can prevent the nuclearization of Iran is a part of the legitimate context of dealing with the issue. Israel will not accept a nuclear Iran. All options are being taken into consideration." The prime minister was invited by committee members to brief them on the negotiations on core issues with the Palestinians, and the issue of Iran was raised in the context of US President George W. Bush's visit to Israel last week. Olmert said he had discussed the Iranian threat with Bush at great length. "[Bush], too, said, in the firmest way, that Iran was and still is a danger... in its desire to create nuclear weapons," said Olmert. "There are many options that can be taken. The international community's participation on this issue must continue. I have reason to believe, based on my talks with the president, that it won't stop." Defense Minister Ehud Barak responded to Olmert's comment, suggesting that the prime minister did too much talking on the issue. "Iran is a big threat. There is a lot to do on Iran: upgrade intelligence, impose sanctions, take diplomatic steps... What we have enough of is talk. The current leaders have a lot to say. Words won't stop missiles and declarations don't stop centrifuges," said Barak. In his discussion on the core issues facing Palestinians, Olmert said he opposed a broad army offensive in the Gaza Strip for the time being. "We should not get ourselves embroiled in operations in which we will pay a price that is disproportionate to the constraints we are dealing with," said Olmert. He added that he did not mean to discredit the damage done to Sderot and other Gaza periphery communities by the ongoing Kassam rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip. "There is a war in Gaza, and Israel is conducting it with wisdom. "There have been hundreds of dead in Gaza this year, that is not an insignificant price for terror groups to pay," said Olmert. Olmert suggested that the current peace negotiations with the Palestinians could be held up due to the situation in Gaza. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas would not be interested in a temporary state without Gaza, said Olmert. "We cannot only deal with marginal problems and claim that we are conducting serious negotiations. We will have to deal with all the core issues between us and the Palestinians," said Olmert. Turning to the rearming of Hizbullah in southern Lebanon, Olmert said that while Hizbullah had succeeded in rebuilding its military installations, it was unlikely that it would launch an attack on Israel. As a result of the Second Lebanon War, Hizbullah was hesitant to engage Israel in another conflict, said Olmert.