West has 3 years to rein in Iran: Is­raeli min­is­ter

The Pak Banker - - 6i Nternational -

JERUSALEM: The United States and its al­lies have up to three years to curb Iran's nu­clear pro­gramme, which has been set back by tech­ni­cal dif­fi­cul­ties and sanc­tions, a se­nior Is­raeli of­fi­cial said on Wed­nes­day.

Say­ing Iran re­mained his govern­ment's biggest worry, Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Moshe Yaalon did not men­tion pos­si­ble uni­lat­eral mil­i­tary strikes by Is­rael, say­ing he hoped U.S.-led ac­tion against Tehran would be suc­cess­ful.

"I be­lieve that this ef­fort will grow, and will in­clude ar­eas be­yond sanc­tions, to con­vince the Ira­nian regime that, ef­fec­tively, it must choose be­tween con­tin­u­ing to seek nu­clear ca­pa­bil­ity and sur­viv­ing," Yaalon told Is­rael Ra­dio.

"I don't know if it will hap­pen in 2011 or in 2012, but we are talk­ing in terms of the next three years." Yaalon, a for­mer armed forces chief, noted Iran's ura­nium en­rich­ment plan had suf­fered set­backs. Some an­a­lysts have seen signs of for­eign sab­o­tage in in­ci­dents such as the cor­rup­tion of Ira­nian com­puter net­works by a virus.

"These dif­fi­cul­ties post­pone the time­line, of course. Thus we can­not talk about a 'point of no re­turn'. Iran does not cur­rently have the abil­ity to make a nu­clear bomb on its own," Yaalon said.

"I hope it won't suc­ceed at all and that the Western world's ef­fort will ul­ti­mately deny Iran a nu­clear ca­pa­bil­ity." Yaalon had pre­vi­ously been hawk­ish on Iran, say­ing Is­rael, be­lieved to have re­gion's only nu­clear arse­nal, should at­tack Iran rather than see it get the bomb. Other of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu, have been tight-lipped about the mil­i­tary op­tion, which would face big tac­ti­cal and diplo­matic hur­dles. -Reuters

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