Olmert: Iran not rushing to produce nukes

Tehran's calculated approach shows diplomacy can still be effective, former prime minister tells CNN at JPost Conference.

Former PM Ehud Olmert in CNN interview 370 (photo credit: CNN)
Former PM Ehud Olmert in CNN interview 370
(photo credit: CNN)
Iran appears to exercise a thoughtful and calculated approach to its nuclear program, which shows that diplomacy can still be effective, former prime minister Ehud Olmert told CNN in a brief video interview published on its website ahead of a more lengthy one due to air in the US Monday night.
His comments come in the aftermath of statements he made Sunday at The Jerusalem Post conference in New York against rushing to launch a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
“The Iranian leadership has not gone beyond a certain line for the time being in the development of the nuclear program,” Olmert told CNN.
“That shows that they are at least thoughtful, which means that they are not rushing, but they are calculating their steps, being aware of the possible ramifications of what they do to Iran itself, which is what we want them to understand,” he said.
Israel still needs to be prepared to defend itself militarily against Iran, Olmert told CNN.
“We have to create the capacity to defend ourselves,” he said.
At the same time, he added, “We have to encourage the international community to be quiet, without talking so much, to take measures and sanctions, economic pressure and so on and so forth.”
There should not be a “rush for certain military actions [against Iran], which are not essential at this point,” he added.
His comments come at a time when former Mossad chief Meir Dagan and former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) head Yuval Diskin have questioned the ability of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak to eliminate Iran’s nuclear program through force.
Iran has restarted negotiations with six world powers over the broader dimensions of its nuclear program and the sides have agreed to meet again in Baghdad on May 23.
Washington and its allies believe Tehran is working on developing nuclear bombs.
Tehran insists its activities have only civilian energy purposes and has refused to stop enriching uranium, despite a slew of sanctions.
The UN Security Council has demanded that Iran suspend all enrichment activity but Western diplomats have indicated the immediate priority is to get it to halt the higher-grade work.

Reuters contributed to this report.