LONDON – Israeli Premier Ehud Olmert said Monday his country would not tolerate a nuclear-armed Iran and lent support to efforts by the European Union and the United States to persuade Tehran to suspend uranium enrichment.
"Israel will not tolerate nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran. We will not be able to accept such a reality. It is quite obvious why," Olmert said at a joint news conference with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
"It's a serious danger not just to the state of Israel. It's a serious danger to the entire world," Olmert said.
Olmert sidestepped a question on whether Israel would act alone against Iran's nuclear program — as it did in 1981, when Israeli warplanes destroyed Iraq's Osirak nuclear facility. He said he hoped recent efforts by European countries and U.S. President George W. Bush "will stop any events that will advance Iran toward the possession of nuclear weapons."
On June 6, the EU and U.S. urged Iran to suspend the key nuclear enrichment process as a condition for negotiations over a package of incentives offered by six world powers.
Iran has not responded formally to the incentives that are intended to persuade it to step back from uranium enrichment. But it has said that parts of the package were acceptable, others were not, and the key issue of uranium enrichment — a process that can make fuel for a nuclear power plant or material for an atomic bomb — needed clarification.
Israel is widely believed to possess nuclear weapons.