Nov 10 2011

Israel is not alone

Published by Editor at 3:21 pm under Home Page, Press Releases, University News

“It is incredibly important that we prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, and the commitment of the Israeli government to this as an objective is not in doubt. It’s important that you know that Britain is committed to this goal as well,” said Britain’s Ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould at a talk that he gave at the University of Haifa yesterday (Wednesday). “The UK shares, 100%, Israel’s profound concern about Iran’s nuclear program and the Iranian regime’s nuclear ambitions. It is incredibly important that we prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons,” he said. Although he did not disqualify any options, in his opinion the best approach to the matter at this point is by increasing economic sanctions on Iran.

Speaking at the University of Haifa’s Ezri Center for Iran & Persian Gulf Studies, the ambassador related to the global concerns regarding the Iranian nuclear program and noted that based on the most recent International Atomic Energy Agency report, it is clear that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. “The last IAEA report shows that we have reason for concern. The details in the report are not reasonable unless Iran is developing nuclear weapons,” he said.

“We are absolutely clear about what the impact would be of Iran successfully developing nuclear weapons. The impact would be on the region but also far more widely. Iran already supports international terrorism and we share Israel’s concern that a nuclear Iran would have the confidence to continue supporting that terrorism without fearing reaction,” he stated.

In his opinion, the best and most realistic solution now is to continue increasing economic pressure on Iran. He said that the effects of the sanctions thus far surprised even the Iranians. “There is no perfect alternative to dealing with the Iranian nuclear program,” he said. “There is no magic bullet that will be a definitive answer that will achieve our goal with finality. On the one hand, those who say that we should learn to live with a nuclear Iran, that we should stop prevention and move to containment are deluding themselves. But on the other hand we should be clear that the military option that some are talking about would come at a very serious cost and there would be huge risks in terms of the unintended consequences of that action. ”

Gould, who has previously served in Iran, also spoke about the tragedy of the Iranian people as he sees it. This, he said, is founded in the rift between the wider public - a cultured and tolerant public - and its leadership that is trampling human rights and turning Iran into an untouchable entity in the international arena. Relating to Iran’s relationship with Israel, Gould stressed that hatred towards Israel is a central element in Iranian policy. Over the years, he said, many of the revolution’s principals have worn down, and in order to prove that the leadership is still “loyal” to the revolution, it emphasizes its hatred towards Israel. “I believe this will be the last of its principals to change,” he said.

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