Israel To Iran: Time’s Up

Finance minister calls for naval blockade within two to six months.

10/05/10
Staff Writer
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Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz called Monday for a naval blockade of Iran within two to six months, saying sanctions have failed to convince the Islamic republic to abandon its nuclear weapons program.

“We’ll need more than talk and sanctions,” Steinitz told a meeting here of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations. “It’s high time the West and the United States gave Iran a deadline to change its behavior. … We need a clear deadline for Iran to become open for inspection otherwise the ramifications should be like you did with Cuba in 1962. It kept the U.S. from going to war. It’s time for clear messages and deadlines.”

His comments come at a time when Iran has acknowledged that computers at its Bushehr nuclear power station were hit by a computer virus. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reportedly vowed a military response.

An adviser to the Kuwaiti government on Iran, Sami Alfaraj, has raised the possibility that Iran might unleash a dirty bomb on the West. Such a device consists of a conventional explosive that is used to spray radioactive material over a wide area. It is designed to frighten and requires those exposed to be decontaminated; buildings and land in the blast zone would be unusable for long periods of time.

“I would not be surprised if this regime lashed out at its adversaries regionally and internationally by doing something as barbaric and irresponsible [as detonating a dirty bomb] — and it would do it in the coming year,” said Alfaraj, founder and president of the Kuwait Center for Strategic Studies.

In an interview with The Jewish Week here before news of the computer virus was reported, Alfaraj said: “The more the Iranian regime finds itself under a tight noose with sanctions,” the sooner it will act.

“I don’t think Iran will sit still and wait for its adversaries to take action against it,” he explained. “It has always taken the initiative except in the Iraq-Iran War when it was attacked in 1980 by [Saddam] Hussein. Since then it has sworn [not to let that happen again]. … Iran has enough material for a dirty bomb without creating a full-fledged nuclear device. And it could give it to its proxies [Hamas and Hezbollah] for use in any cities in the world.”

Steinitz, asked about the possibility of Iran resorting to the use of a dirty bomb, said simply: “We have to take everything into account. Iran is very dangerous because of the nature of the regime. … It’s not impossible. It’s very dangerous, and we can never know what they are willing to do.”

Although several other Iranian experts in the United States and Israel expressed doubt that Iran would develop a dirty bomb, Ilan Berman, vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council, said he believes “those in the Gulf have a better feel not for what Iran is capable of but for what Iran is likely to do than we do.”

But Trita Parsi, founder and president of the National Iranian American Council and an expert on Iran, said he believes it is “highly unlikely” that Iran would “empower Hezbollah” by giving it a dirty bomb.

“Iran has other kinds of non-conventional weaponry like chemical weapons that it has not shared,” he said. “I don’t see a pattern that would support that.”

Berman pointed out, however, that Iran did share with Hezbollah its own variant of a Chinese cruise missile, which was used to hit the Israeli missile cruiser the INS Hanit during the Israeli war with Hezbollah in 2006. The ship was enforcing the Israeli naval blockade of Lebanon off the coast of Beirut; four Israelis were killed.

“It’s not clear if the Iranian revolutionary guards or Hezbollah fired it, but it played an important role in the conflict by providing Hezbollah with additional firepower,” Berman said. “So although it is not clear if Iran would empower its proxies with a nuclear or a dirty bomb, you can’t exclude it because history has shown it has done similar things in the past.”

Yoram Schweitzer, director of the Program on Terrorism and Low Intensity Conflict at Tel Aviv University, said he believes it is “not very likely that Iran will give up control over such as weapon.”

Although Iran encouraged or assisted Hezbollah in carrying out the deadly bombings of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1992 that killed 29, and the bombing in the same city two years later of the AMIA Jewish community center that killed 85, Schweitzer said: “You can’t compare sponsoring terrorism and transferring nuclear material to terrorist organizations. … I don’t think these groups are interested in such weapons or need it.”

“States that sponsor terrorism by proxy are playing a tricky game,” he added. “They are playing with fire and they know it. … They are reluctant to do it because the tolerance for such acts after 9/11 is much less.”

Eldad Pardo, an expert on Iran at the Truman Research Institute for the Advancement for Peace in Jerusalem, pointed out that the U.S. did not respond after Hezbollah, with Iranian help, bombed the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996 that killed 19 U.S. servicemen.

Pardo said he believed “it is possible” that Iran might give Hezbollah a dirty bomb to detonate “but as long as Iran is still in one piece and has not totally disintegrated — and they are not near collapsing — I don’t see it. It would mean the end of Iran because the entire West would come and conquer Iran.”

Berman agreed that the threat of retaliation might be enough for Iran to have second thoughts, because a dirty bomb can be traced back to its the maker.

“If they turn to a dirty bomb, it’s easy to conclude that Iran is giving away the store and there is no reason not to bomb them,” he said.

Larry Haas, a senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council, said he believes Iran is determined to go all the way and make a nuclear bomb to “threaten its enemies with.”

“I don’t see any evidence that it wants to stop at a halfway measure that a dirty bomb would suggest,” he said. “Nor do I see that economic pressures will ever be serious enough to deter Iran. … I don’t think the West is doing anything but slowing down the march to nuclear capacity.”

Gabriella Shalev, who until recently was Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, agreed that the fourth round of sanctions approved in June by the Security Council are not crippling but are “very powerful.”

The sanctions, she told reporters at an Israel Project luncheon last month, “paved the way for the United States and for the European Union to have their individual or national sanctions. We hear now thinking about sanctions that will be pointed toward the central bank [of Iran]. These sanctions may not prevent the nuclear race, but they will delay it, and we are winning time.”

Shalev noted that the sanctions were being pursued after the diplomatic approach tried by President Barack Obama failed.

“We saw that happened at the revolution, at the elections, and we know that this did not work — the diplomatic avenue,” she said. “So now we have to try in other ways, which is the sanctions, in order to avoid the worst option. And I’m not going to comment on this bad, bad, bad option that I think nobody wants to reach.”

The idea of a naval blockade of Iran is not new. On May 21, 2008, there were reports that then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had suggested it to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The next day, Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Queens-Long Island) introduced a bill that, although non-binding, would have urged President George W. Bush to prevent Iran from importing any refined petroleum products and demanded that he initiate an international effort to inspect “all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains, and cargo entering or departing Iran.”

The Democratic leadership, fearing that it could have provoked a war, eventually shelved the bill.

Alfaraj, the Kuwaiti expert on Iran, pointed out that Iranian leaders, fearful that Israel, the U.S. or both might attack them, might believe they “have to create a real dirty bomb or the allusions that they have one for the purpose of deterrence.”

A dirty bomb attack has never occurred, although there have been scares. New York City has 4,500 sensors throughout the five boroughs that are designed to detect radioactivity and nuclear material. That includes the nearly 2,000 devices carried by police officers on their belts that are designed to detect the gamma radiation emitted by dirty bombs. In addition, police trucks and helicopters carry larger detection equipment.

The federal government last month announced the city would be receiving $18.5 million to maintain its dirty-bomb detection system after telling lawmakers the city remains a primary terrorism target.

Steinitz’s call for a naval blockade of Iran comes at a time when Iran has acknowledged that a computer virus that is capable of seizing control of industrial plants affected personal computers of staff working at the Bushehr nuclear power station just weeks before it was to go on line. Although it said the virus had not damaged any major systems of the plant, the plant’s opening was delayed until January.

Last Saturday, Iranian Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi announced that several “nuclear spies” had been arrested.

“The enemy had sent electronic worms through the Internet to undermine Iran’s nuclear activities,” he was quoted as saying.

That statement suggested that the computer virus had spread beyond the Bushehr plant to other nuclear sites reportedly involved in developing nuclear weapons.

In addition to the computer virus, Iran is also reportedly plagued with faulty equipment. The International Atomic Energy Agency, whose inspectors regularly visit the Natanz site, reported that of 9,000 centrifuges there, fewer than 6,000 were operational — a 30 percent drop in capacity compared to a year ago. There is speculation that the centrifuges were damaged by other equipment sold to Iran by Western intelligence agencies using straw companies.

Last Update:

10/14/2010 - 10:27

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let's listen to the world history. the only nation that dropped nuke on civilian population was the US. the nation that LIED to legalize wars on other nations is the US namely the vietnam and the iraq wars. the nation that had murdered civilians way more than the other nations in WW1 & WW2 combined is the US. the nation that had staged false flags ops to legitimize its oppressive foreign policy on other nations is the US. but WORSE, this so called great nation is actually a poodle to one small country. the only country that been breaking the highest number of international laws imposed under UN but has always been let go with them (thanks to the US & its other poodles). she staged false flags ops to make other nation wage war for her (USS liberty) and let free from them. it has been wiping the native people out of the map and encouraging the foreigners to settle in the lands instead yet the world is powerless against her. it can squeeze the aid out of the nation that is left to hike tax or worsen the living of her own people to pay it out. Only ISRAEL can do them.
I'm sure that the Israeli navy is quite capable of maintaining a sustained naval blockade of Iran's sea ports and the IAF will surely maintain an Iranian no-fly zone in the international airspace around Iran. Go for it Israel... be the light unto the world!
Here's Israel dictating to the world again! Advise to Israel: give up your own nuclear arsenal; stop your ceaseless threats against neighboring states; return to your approved 1948 enclaves and get ready to be held accountable for your war crimes! The world has had a enough of Israel.
All Israel has left are assassinations, terrorist bombings and serious acts of destructive vandalism. Imagine telling an ancient nation such as Iran, "Time’s Up" as if sustained belicosity is the only means of statecraft. Israel is surely overdue for a lesson teaching commuppances.
Can you spell Dimona? D-I-M-O-N-A
There is a way out of the impasse. The path forward is full of trepidation, fear and danger. However like a ship on a turbulent sea with good navigation and guidance it is possible for all the passengers to reach safe harbour. It is all about individual decisions and which turns of the wheel are made. The question of possible nuclear weapons being developed by Iran is irrelevant if the Persian leaders can be persuaded to come to Jerusalem and build trust with various people. They and others will have to submit to a higher authority for their own good. Peacemaking buys time, whilst continued enmity, violence and chaos makes time contract and collapse in on itself. How much is truth and trust building worth in the world ? The prophecies are clear that all people will turn to G-d over a period of time. Perhaps such a visit would accelerate such a process ?
The idea that any real "diplomacy" has taken place is a farce. Diplomacy would involve recognizing Iran's clear right to enrich their nuclear material as is explicitly stated in the NPT while opening up Israel's secret nuclear program to the world and have their huge stockpile of illegal nukes inspected. How anyone can still believe that the West loves peace after examining the U.S.'s clear track record of overthrowing democratically elected governments all over Latin America, South East Asia and even Europe, and with its unending campaigns of illegal wars of aggression is a mystery to any moral human capable of critical thought. The U.S. is ALWAYS provoking and expediting war against states that pose absolutely no threat to it, and it's middle eastern proxy, Israel, treats its Palestinian populace worst than South Africa treated its blacks under Apartheid. If there is any hope of peace, Israel must be disarmed, support for its brutal aggression against Palestine withdrawn, and American war criminals brought to justice. Only when the rule of law applies to all will their be peace.
The people of the west are mostly peaceful. The leaders of the west are a different story. The powers that be control the media, thus they control popular opinion. This was proven when Rick Sanchez recently mentioned that his own network and all others are owned by Jews. He was fired for these comments.
Quite frankly I am surprised this web site didn't censor your post. It is easy to forget that many Jews are good people and they have no control over their government just like Americans have no control over theirs. Illusion of Democracy. When will the madness stop
As a born Muslim woman, who was raised on the Koran and it's repressive worldview, particularly to women, but who lives in the 21st century in the west , I am fearful of the dangers that jihad and Koranic doctrine is bringing to the world and western civilization. Anyone posting apologies for Islam and/or Islamic states is expressing either cowardice, self-delusion, accepting the multicultural mush dished out by the media, psychosis, or some form of dhimmitude.
Hmmmm, Dimona , illegal nuclear weapons, Lebanon illegal use of DU and white phosphorous, Gaza ditto, when will an Israeli leader stand up and demand war against ISRAEL for the evil and illegal destruction it has caused across the Middle East since 1948. Mossad was responsible for 9/11 so says Italy's former president Francesco Cossiga. The last time Iran attacked a neighbour was in at the Battle of Plataea in 479 BC 2500 years ago , hardly a dangerous neighbour, thank UK/USA for the islamist government , they overthrew democratically elected President Mossadegh after he nationalised HIS PEOPLES oil fields , which led to the Shah (western puppet) being thrown out by khomeini .
I consider any info from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Israel to be total lies. Kuwait and the Saudis want to keep their royal families in power and if that means selling out other Muslim countries so be it. Any distraction away from their kleptocracy is good. Israel lies to promote their Zionist agenda. The good news is the Israeli people are waking up to their corrupt government.
Mr. Bush did a great job for Iran by removing its enemy Saddam from power . Iranian should be thankful to Lovely Bush for his action. Therefore, it is time for Iran to lead the entire Muslim world and that symptom is now gradually surfacing to the reality . Smart Iranian not only captured Iraq politically but many nation including America's door step Cuba, Brazil, Venezuela, Ecuador, Paraguay and others . The rising super power Iran is the only nation to give something special gift to the world in 21st century . There is many things to learn from this ancient civilization of Iran . So that, barking, shouting, dancing against Iran by the west and some of Arab's foolish leaders Zionist regime finally come to end.
A dirty bomb could easily be introduced into the United States. The terrorists can simply walk through our open border with Mexico, it's that easy.
GO ISRAEL - DON'T WAIT FOR USA. Bush's great error was going to the Taliban hills instead of turning left to the Saudi HQ which produces Bin Laden dolls. We have seen the results of that fruitless execise. America, which shameslly calls this regime its ally and national interest, is responsible for 100's of 1000's of deaths since 9/11. Not to mention the 9/11 victims are crying in their graves. It also tells the world: ISRAEL IS INDEED A LIGHT UNTO THE NATIONS.
This article is entirely rubbish. Israel can do very little to stop the peaceful nuclear activities in Iran. The west is worried it can no longer use its wild dog (Israel) to manipulate and subjugate peoples of the Middle East. Iran is now self-sufficient in petrol and there is no bloody way any country dares to search Iranian ships. Iran will retaliate by searching their ships and can easily disrupt shipping in Persian Gulf and beyond with devastating effect on the world economy. So Israeli officials better put up a fight or shut up. Enough of threats. No body gives a damn.
how many more wars does islam want to lose?
Iran PEACEFUL? LOL Needed a laugh today...thanks.
ahaahahah the only dirty bomb that may happen in US is by CIA/Mossad operation just like 9/11 You warmongers are fools disgust me