Israeli ambassador warns of red line if Iran gets close to nuclear capability

ADVERTISEMENT
Oren said U.S.-led international sanctions against Iran have hurt its economy but so far failed to curtail its suspected nuclear program. He called for more sanctions and a credible U.S. threat of military repercussions if Iran does not abandon its program, which Iran says is for peaceful purposes only.

On Monday, the Obama administration approved the sale of $647 million in precision munitions to Israel, including more than 5,000 bunker-busting bombs. The sale has raised concerns that Israel may be getting ready to attack Iran's nuclear program with America's backing.

Oren declined to comment on the planned use of the munitions, but he said the administration and Congress have made a commitment for Israel to be able to defend itself against “any Middle Eastern threat or any combination of Middle Eastern threats.”

Oren said Iran's ability to put such a weapon on one of its long-range missiles was “just the beginning of the threat.”

“It's also the possibility that Iran passes nuclear capability onto terrorist groups,” Oren said. “And once Iran acquires nuclear capabilities, it will spark an arms race throughout the entire Middle East. ... It will be infinitely destabilizing.”

Oren went on to denounce the U.N. General Assembly's lopsided vote for Palestinian statehood, with particularly harsh words for the European Union, which recently won the Nobel Peace Prize.

“At a time when, rather cynically, the European Union awarded itself the Nobel Prize, [this vote] is making great strides away from peace,” Oren said.

And he once again denied that Netanyahu had rooted for Romney during the election, blaming that impression on the U.S. media misunderstanding Israeli security concerns.

“Categorically no – Prime Minister Netanyahu went to extraordinary lengths not to be dragged into the elections,” Oren said. “One of the great challenges is that everything in this country is seen through the prism of elections and everything in Israel is seen through the prism of an Iranian nuclear threat.”

Every time Netanyahu weighed in on Iran, Oren said, it was "immediately misinterpreted here as a sort of ... attempt to interfere in American politics."