Former zionist Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has played down Tel Aviv’s ability to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, saying the danger of such a move is much greater than any possible achievement.
Olmert, who ordered an airstrike back in 2007 on a Syrian position which Israel claims was a nuclear reactor, said at the Jerusalem Post Conference in New York on Sunday that the Tel Aviv regime is not capable of successfully attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities.
As Israel’s prime minister, Olmert said, he decided not to hit Iranian nuclear facilities because Israel could only set Iran’s nuclear program back two years.
The danger involved in striking Iran then was much greater than any possible achievement, and this remains true now, he said.
“What we could do with Syria, we cannot do with Iran”
“With Syria, we destroyed it and knew it would take them time to rebuild it. With Iran, the distance is farther, and it is spread in different sites, mostly underground. The ability of Israel to destroy the nuclear capabilities is much smaller, and it requires different capabilities.”
Syria, a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), has always dismissed reports that the site was a nuclear reactor. Damascus said the destroyed complex was a military site under construction.
Israel is believed to be the sole possessor of a nuclear arsenal in the Middle East with more than 200 undeclared nuclear warheads. Tel Aviv has rejected global calls to join the NPT and does not allow international inspectors to inspect its controversial nuclear program.
The Israeli military has released classified documents, formally admitting that it had attacked and destroyed a site in eastern Syria back in 2007.
Asked about US President Donald Trump’s plans to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and other countries at the urging of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Olmert said he did not agree with the Israeli premier or the US president.
“I am not sure Trump is right,” he said, adding, “If there is an alternative, change it. If not, don’t rush to change the agreement.”
Under the deal, which entered into force in January 2016, Iran agreed to limit some aspects of its peaceful nuclear program in exchange for the removal of all nuclear-related sanctions.
Elsewhere in his remarks, the former premier urged Netanyahu to follow his lead and step down over corruption and bribery probes. Olmert himself spent 16 months in jail for a series of corruption charges.