Statements by Israeli leaders on Iran in May through July 2012

July 2, 2012


President Peres at UN Independence Day reception (3 July 2012):

"The greatest threat to world peace is the present leadership of Iran and its policies. The Iranian people are not our enemies, and no-one is threatening the existence of Iran. There is no reason in the world that Iran should have a leadership which threatens the existence of other countries, which promotes terrorism and which develops nuclear weapons.

I feel that under the leadership of President Obama every indication of democracy will be supported and every hint of a danger of destruction will be met before it becomes late in the day."

PM Netanyahu (2 July 2012):

"There are no limits to Iranian terrorism. After Iran sent its people to assassinate - on US soil - the Saudi Arabian ambassador and to perpetrate terrorist attacks in Azerbaijan, Bangkok, Tbilisi and New Delhi, its intention to perpetrate attacks on African soil has now been exposed. The international community needs to fight the greatest exporter of terrorism in the world."

PM Netanyahu after meeting with Russian President Putin (25 June 2012):

"We just had the chance to discuss the current negotiations between the international community and Iran. We agree that Iran's continued pursuit of nuclear weapons is a grave threat first and foremost to Israel, but also to the region and to the world.

Israel believes that the international community should have three clear demands of Iran: Stop enriching uranium inside Iran; remove all the enriched uranium from Iran; and dismantle the underground nuclear facility near Qom. That is why Israel believes the international community must now do two things: ratchet up the sanctions against Iran; and also ratchet up the demands that are being made of Iran."

President Peres at Brookings Institution (12 June 2012):

"The Iranians are not our enemies. So I'm asking ourself, why are we really against Iran? Is it just because of nuclear bomb? Not only. What revolts the world against Iran is that in the 21st century, the Iranian leaders, not the Iranian people, are the only one that wants to renew imperialism in the name of religion...

We see the way they want to construct an empire - by terror, by sending money, sending arms, hanging, bluffing. We cannot support it. The world cannot support a nuclear Iran. If Iran will win, the whole Middle East will become the victim. Actually, the world economy will become the victim...

I am not aware of anybody that threatens Iran, that wants to oppress Iran or govern Iran or reduce Iran, nothing whatsoever. Iran could have flourished without it. They have oil. They have a large country. They have an old culture. Who is against Iran? We're against a policy that endangers our age...

President Obama said rightly that he wants to try with non-military means, which is typically American, rightly so. But America understands that if this will be the only option, the Iranians will laugh at them. But the Americans are saying there are other options on the table, please don't forget it. And we are aware of the time element as well...

Clearly we are more sensitive than others because when nobody threatens Iran, Iran threatens us. We are the only country which is being threatened to be destroyed by them. I don't suggest that this is the only reason that makes us more sensitive. But it doesn't reduce the great and major danger that we are facing."

PM Netanyahu - excerpts from interview in Bild (4 June & 5 June 2012)

The Iranian nuclear program has not slowed down by one millimeter. Despite all the pressures that were applied to it. Nothing.

We certainly would prefer that all these economic sanctions produce a result. But you have to understand how atomic weapons are made. The most critical part is to fill the bomb with explosive material which in this case is called fissile material. To prepare that material is very hard, it takes a long time. Most of the significant part to prepare this atomic TNT is to enrich uranium at a low percentage of enrichment. Iran has that already. The higher up you get is much faster. What they are being asked now to do is not stop filling the canister, not to stop enrichment, not to take away the material - all that is not being asked, not even shut down the underground nuclear bunker in Qom that they tried to hide from the world. The Iranians were only asked to stop 20 percent enrichment of uranium. That doesn't stop their nuclear program in any way. It actually allows them to continue their nuclear program.

Iran could stop the 20 percent enrichment at any moment now and not in any way retard their advance in the nuclear program. The P5 + 1 is so keen on getting any agreement, that they have lowered the demands. There should be three clear demands: One, stop all enrichment high and low. Second, remove all material that has been enriched from Iran. Third, dismantle, the underground nuclear bunker in Qom. If theyreally want nuclear power for peaceful purposes, as they claim, they should agree. The reasons they don't agree is that they are pursuing atomic bombs. We cannot deceive ourselves when we are discussing atomic bombs in the hands of the Ayatollahs.

It is important to understand that Khamenei runs Iran. Ahmadinejad has his uses but the decision-maker is Khamenei and his commitment to the eradication of Israel is no less ideological, messianic and apocalyptic than Ahmadinejad's, in many ways I suspect it is even more.

What they are doing now before they have nuclear weapons is bad enough. Sending killers our way, killing NATO forces in Afghanistan, they are arming their terrorist proxies, Hizbullah and Hamas, with tens of thousands of rockets. They are threatening to close the Straits of Hormuz and choke off the supply of oil. And they openly talk about the possibility of using nuclear weapons. So think what they would do if they had nuclear weapons.

I know the importance to make sure the Ayatollah regime does not have nuclear weapons. The greatest threat facing humanity is a radical Islamist regime meeting up with nuclearweapons. The Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons would be infinitely more costly than any scenario you can imagine to stop it.

Defense Minister Barak at INSS Conference (30 May 2012):

"The reports of the IAEA and the work of top intelligence agencies render it unequivocal: Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons and nuclear capability. The leaders of the world, led by the US Administration and President Obama are speaking with one voice.

Israel, unlike other countries does not have the option to ignore this challenge.

We are convinced that Iran is trying to lead the world astray, consistently violating Security Council resolutions, violating the provisions of the IAEA... Their aim is to play for time until they become firmly consolidated in the immunity zone; a status by which they have the ability to make the decision to develop nuclear weapons or facilities, or to reach the immediate threshold. i.e. the ability to become a nuclear power in a very short time, when no one can interfere.

When people talk about nuclear capabilities, you cannot wait until the capabilities are acquired, built or deployed and only then act. Because then it is too late, you will be unable to act, there will be nothing you can do. Therefore the crucial moment is the last moment, [when] the metaphorical sword is pressed closely against your neck.

There is no disagreement that a nuclear Iran will lead to a regional nuclear arms race.

Iran is aspiring for hegemony not only in the Muslim world, but also in the region. It is motivated by an extreme radical Islamist ideology, and nuclear capability would only give it a further boost."

PM Netanyahu at INSS Conference (29 May 2012):

"As to the nuclear issue, let me address the talks between the superpowers and Iran. Not only do the sanctions need to be harsher, the demands on Iran for which the sanctions are imposed must be strengthened and the powers must insist that Iran fulfill these demands in full. Iran must stop all enrichment of nuclear material; it must remove all materials enriched to date from its territory; and it must dismantle its underground nuclear enrichment plant at Qom. Only a specific Iranian commitment during negotiations to meet all three demands and a clear confirmation that they have been executed can stop Iran's nuclear plan. This should be the goal of the negotiations. But I must say regretfully that this is not what is asked of Iran today.

To date, there have been several rounds of talks in which the Iranians were required to stop low levels of uranium enrichment, this is to say, to stop enrichment of 3.5%. Even though that is a low level, it is a significant part of the enrichment process needed to prepare fissile material for a bomb. Not only did the Iranians not do this, they continued enriching uranium without interruption and increased their level of enrichment to 20%, and as it has recently become apparent, even higher than that. In other words, they are constantly advancing their nuclear program to create atomic bombs.

One would expect that the powers demand that Iran stop all enrichment in light of its serial violations and in light of the fact that they are currently enriching at a level of 20%, but instead they are reducing their demands. In the first round, they demanded that the Iranians stop the 3.5%, and even that is not happening now. In this round, they are not even insisting that the Iranians stop all enrichment. On the one hand, it is good that they are imposing heavy economic sanctions on Iran. This is a positive and important thing. We asked for it, and I must say with satisfaction that this pressure is being put on Iran. However, on the other hand, these sanctions must be accompanied by the demands I outlined. It is the combination of the two that will lead to the stopping of the Iranian nuclear program. It is very possible that the Iranians will temporarily stop their enrichment at 20%, but that is not enough. The test will be if the Iranians will agree to stop all enrichment, remove all enriched material and to dismantle their underground nuclear facility at Qom. This is the test and there is no other."

President Peres at state dinner for German President Gauck (29 May 2012):

"The Iranian people are not our enemy, but the Iranian leadership has chosen autocracy over progress. It is the danger. The Iranian regime denies the Holocaust, and threatens a new holocaust. The regime in Iran claims that religion forbids the building of nuclear weapons but it develops such a weapon. The regime discriminates against women and shoots at demonstrators. Iran has become the international hub of terrorism. The citizens of Iran are entitled to freedom, including liberty from the regime which leads them today."

President Peres welcomes German President Gauck to Israel (29 May 2012):

"Once again difficult issues are appearing in front of our eyes and testing our consciences. The Iranian people are not our enemy but the policies of the Iranian government are hovering as a dark shadow over the world. The leaders of Iran say that religion forbids the building of nuclear weapons, but those acting in their name are building just such a weapon. The leaders of Iran deny the Holocaust and at the same time threaten a new Holocaust. There is no place for complacency. Indifference to horror is the greatest horror of all."

President Peres meets with US Senator Kerry (1 May 2012):

President Peres spoke about the importance of taking action to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and that Iran represents a threat to world peace, not just Israel's existence. President Peres said he is convinced that the President of the United States is serious and will stand by his commitment to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and that he fully relies on his judgment and his leadership.