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World Council for the Cedars Revolution

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The Prospect Of A Nuclear Iran PDF Print E-mail
Written by CBS   
Thursday, 24 July 2008

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Close-Up On Iran's Relationship With Its Neighbors - And What That Means For The Mideast's Future 

(CBS) During his visit to Israel today, Sen. Barack Obama defended his proposal to negotiate with Iran. He told reporters he plans to use "big sticks and big carrots" to convince the Iranians not to develop nuclear weapons. Before leaving the Middle East, CBS News anchor Katie Couric took a close look at the prospect of a nuclear Iran and filed this report.

It was the shot heard throughout the Middle East - Iran flexing its military muscle with a series of missile tests signaling to its neighbors and the West that it's not backing down in its quest to become a nuclear nation, Couric reports.

Experts warn Iran may be as close as a year away from having enough enriched uranium to produce a nuclear weapon. A constant target of Iran's aggressive rhetoric and threats, Israel knows time is running out.

Ephraim Halevy was the head of MOSSAD, Israel's intelligence agency.

"Is Israel willing to strike militarily if these diplomatic efforts fail?" Couric asked Halevy.

"I think it's important that the Iranians believe this is a possibility," he said. "I think it's extremely important that the credibility of Israel's capabilities should be on the table for Iranians to feel and see. If Israel's back is to the wall... Israel is not going to sit back and just receive whatever it is the Iranians are going to attack with, concerning Israel."

For Israel, keeping weapons from its neighbors is nothing new. In 1981 Israeli forces targeted and successfully bombed Saddam Hussein's nuclear reactor Osirak. And in September of 2007, they launched a pre-emptive strike on a suspected nuclear facility in northern Syria.

But Iran has learned from its neighbors' mistakes. Experts say they've developed underground enrichment facilities that are spread out and well hidden - raising questions about the possible success of a conventional strike.

The fear of Iran's increased nuclear capabilities has prompted the United States to radically switch gears and, for the first time in 30 years, actually sit at the same table with European and Iranian representatives.

Some view this as a major concession to what many consider a rogue government; others see it as the only way forward.

"So you approve of this switch from isolating Iran to engaging the country?" Couric asked Halevy.

"I believe one has to open up a channel of dialogue with Iran for one of two reasons: Either in order to exhaust the possibility of a diplomatic solution or because I believe that this is an essential prerequisite before going to war," he said.

For the people of Israel, hostile neighbors come with the territory. It has become part of the national psyche - one that understands the need to be pre-emptive.

Two years ago northern Israel became a major target in the Lebanon War, where for one month, Hezbollah rockets rained down on the port city of Haifa.

"It was the first time in our history that this city was under attack," said Haifa mayor Yona Yahav. "A hundred rockets hit the residential area. I was ... so shocked that here, if this is going to continue this way, the whole city is going to be killed."

Mira Carasenti, a resident of Haifa, will never forget that morning.

"The rocket came through from there," Carasenti said, pointing. "From the third floor straight to our floor, to our house."

Yet the Carasentis were fortunate because their enemy only had a crude Katyusha rocket. What they fear now is an enemy that may be only months away from having the most dangerous weapon of all.

"With all the reality here - in Haifa and Israel - I think what will happen; we are here; we are very strong nation," Carasenti said.

© MMVIII, CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 



 
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