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beilin 224.88 .(Photo by: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
MKs travel abroad, warn of Iran threat
02/20/2008
15 MKs taking part in project come from both ends of political spectrum; Beilin meeting German officials.
Israel is dispatching lawmakers to capitals in Europe and Asia to warn about the threat of Iranian nuclear weapons, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Wednesday. The MKs, all of them with diplomatic experience or military knowledge, are meant to make Israel's case that Iran is trying to become a nuclear power and urge more international sanctions to prevent that from happening, ministry spokesman Arye Mekel said. Around 15 lawmakers will leave in the coming weeks as part of the project, Mekel said. "They will explain that Iran is continuing to produce nuclear weapons and that we must stop it, that the international community must mobilize because by 2009 Iran will know how to manufacture a nuclear weapon or at least enrich uranium for that purpose," Mekel said. The lawmakers are from parties across Israel's political spectrum, including representatives from the coalition and from both hardline and dovish opposition parties. "This shows that on this subject there are no political differences in Israel," Mekel said. Israel fears an Iranian nuclear weapon would pose an existential threat. Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has denied the Holocaust and said Israel should be "wiped off the map." The first MK to take part in the project, Meretz chairman Yossi Beilin, was already in Berlin on Wednesday meeting with German parliamentarians and other officials. "I'm here to explain the importance of the sanctions aimed at Iran," Beilin said in a telephone interview. "Even if the [US assessment] is accurate and the Iranians stopped their military program in 2003, they are still illegally enriching uranium, and that can be transferred to military use in a matter of months," Beilin said. "An Iranian nuclear weapon would mean the end of the political process" between Israel and its neighbors because it would bolster extremists and threaten moderates, Beilin said.
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