Meridor: Iran is winning the nuke race

Israeli envoy tells 'Post' world must act in a much more decisive way to avoid Iranian bomb.

ahmadinejad nuclear 224 (photo credit: AP [file])
ahmadinejad nuclear 224
(photo credit: AP [file])
Despite years of economic sanctions, Iran is winning the race to acquire nuclear weapons, posing an unprecedented threat to the future of the West, Ambassador to the US Sallai Meridor said Thursday. "If we want to avoid the juncture of Iran with a bomb or bombing Iran than the world must act decisively in a much more serious way," Meridor told a group of Christian parliamentarians from around the world at a Capitol Hill conference organized by the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus. Meridor said it was imperative for the West to unite against the nuclear intentions of the Islamic Republic, which he called the single greatest threat facing the world today, and stop looking for commercial gains at the expense of future stability in the world. His comments come just weeks after Switzerland announced a huge gas deal with the Islamic Republic which has been criticized by both the US and Israel. "So far, in the race between the world and Iran, Iran seems to be ahead and continues with its efforts to attain nuclear weapons," he said, adding that it was "criminal" not to learn the lessons of history, recalling that the lead-up to the Holocaust did not begin overnight but over years. "The challenge to our generation is not to ignore again the writing on the wall," he said. In an earlier address, Republican Congressman Trent Franks (Arizona), who has close ties to his party's presumptive presidential nominee John McCain, said "the only two ways to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons is either direct military intervention or conviction in their hearts that there will be a direct military intervention. Iran is sincere - sincerely insane - about acquiring nuclear weapons and the future could see nuclear jihad in the world." Franks has put forward an amendment which would direct the US to prepare a military option against Iran, although the bill has been stonewalled in Congress. Meanwhile, Meridor denied that Israeli-Syrian peace talks were taking place over the displeasure of the Bush administration. "I do not think that the US has ever been opposed to talks between Israel and Syria," Meridor said. He declined further comment on the touchy issue. The US administration has opposed Israeli-Syrian negotiations due to concern that such talks would reward Syria for backing terror groups like Iranian-backed Hizbullah. Indeed, New York Democratic Congressman Elliot Engel said he doubted the current US administration would ever get involved in such peace talks. "Israel is a sovereign nation and doesn't have to do what the US tells it to do," said Engel, who co-chairs the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus.