Published August 26, 2006
JERUSALEM – Iran took another leap toward a nuclear bomb by launching heavy water production and Israel must draw the conclusions and "prepare itself militarily," a senior Israeli lawmaker said Saturday.
Israel's government declined comment on the inauguration of the heavy water plant, which went into operation despite international demands that Iran roll back its nuclear program.
Iran's president said in a speech during the opening ceremony Saturday that Iran will never abandon its nuclear program and reiterated that nuclear weapons production is not the goal. He said the program poses no threat to any other country, including Israel which, in his words, "is a definite enemy."
Israeli legislator Ephraim Sneh of the Labor Party, a partner in the ruling coalition, warned in a statement that Iran's heavy water production marks "another leap in Iran's advance toward a nuclear bomb."
Sneh, a former deputy defense minister, said Iran's progress shows that international efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons are insufficient. "Israel has to draw the conclusions and to prepare itself militarily," said Sneh.
Israel's official position is that it will let international diplomacy play itself out, and Israeli leaders have been evasive when asked about possible military action against Iran. In 1981, Israel bombed an Iraqi nuclear reactor under construction.