Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's Speech at the Conference of the Institute for National Security Studies on "The Nature of War in the Future and Intelligence Challenges" (Excerpts)

December 11, 2007

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The subject which is preoccupying so many of us, especially recently, is the nature of the Iranian threat, its scope and its power.

At the beginning of the month, as you know, the National Intelligence Council of the United States published its updated estimation of Iran's intentions and capabilities in the nuclear field.

I attribute great importance to the declaration by the President of the United States, George Bush, that nothing has changed; Iran was and remains dangerous and we must continue the international pressure with full force to dissuade Iran from its nuclear tendencies. I trust and am confident that the United States will continue to lead the international campaign to stop the development of a nuclear Iran.

The State of Israel is not the main flag-bearer against the quirks of the regime in Tehran, which conspires against any attempt at reconciliation and peace-making between Israel and its neighbors, and threatens the stability of the Middle East. This is not only an Israeli problem, but rather a worldwide problem.

The solution can be found in the combination of efforts on the part of the United States and Russia, China and the European countries, to exert effective pressure on Iran.

The publication of the American NIE Report generated an exaggerated debate. Some of us even interpreted the report as an American retreat from its support of Israel. This is groundless.

The United States led the global campaign against Iran and mobilized its full international strength to set in motion the adoption by the UN Security Council of two resolutions imposing sanctions on Iran, since America was convinced that Iran constitutes a real threat to peace in the region and to vital American interests. This has not changed. Not because I say so - the Americans say so, the British, the Germans and the French say so as well.

Iran continues its activities to enrich uranium, and even according to the NIE Report, it is likely to accumulate sufficient amounts to create nuclear weapons by 2010.

Iran continues its activities to attain two vital components to create nuclear weapons: the development of a sophisticated electrical system and ballistic missiles, while at the same time producing enriched uranium.

There is no disagreement regarding these facts, and therefore there is no reason to change the assessments Israel has made the entire time regarding the danger involved in the continuation of these activities.

International pressure on Iran has been very effective, even according to the NIE Report, and it should be continued and even increased. Therefore, Israel supports the tightening of the economic sanctions on Iran and its continued isolation until it fulfills the recommendations of the Security Council and suspends all activities to enrich uranium.

Israel will work with the International Atomic Energy Agency in order to expose Iran's military capabilities; we will continue our diplomatic relations with the United States of America and with diplomatic officials from other, friendly countries - in order to strengthen the conclusion that we cannot slacken our close surveillance of Iran's activities.

The overall responsibility for preventing the nuclearization of Iran lies with the international community, headed by the United States, Russia, France, England, Germany and China, and they declare that they will continue in their efforts ceaselessly.

The State of Israel, which Iran has declared its intention to destroy, cannot relax in this effort. We do not need an intelligence report to know of the intentions of the regime in Tehran. These intentions are overt, professed and heard publicly again and again.

A country rich in oil and gas does not need to enrich uranium for civilian needs in order to produce alternative energy. A country which does not have the infrastructure to create nuclear energy for civilian purposes does not need to act with frenzied haste to create enriched uranium - unless it wants to develop nuclear weapons.

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