Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Threats Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon, spoke yesterday, on the last day of the Herzliya Conference. Addressing a panel on the strategic implications of a nuclear threshold Iran, he spoke of the threat Iran poses to the world, and Israel, in particular.
If Iran were to obtain nuclear weapons, Ya’alon said, it would threaten the free world, the Middle East, and Israel.Â “As a threshold country, Iran would be able, in a short period of time, to acquire nuclear weapons and, undoubtedly, it is on its way to do so.” Moreover, he argued, this wouldÂ destabilizeÂ the region, as, should Iran obtain nuclear weapons, there would be a domino-like effect, in which many other nations in the region would follow.
Ya’alon explained that Iranian nuclear goals are essentially two fold. According to Ya’alon, first, Iran wants to change the world order, allowing Islam to, once again, become a great power. Second, Iran wants to become a regional hegemony; a regional great power. This goal, he noted, will only increase as American presence decreases.Â With nuclear capabilities, “the extreme regime in Tehran would be able to promote its very extreme targets.” Proof of this is that Iran has not waited for nuclear capabilities to export terrorism and threaten the West, andÂ particularlyÂ Israel.Â “It is, already, active today, in many ways, to promote this, and it is the one to supply arms and weapons, including very advanced missiles, to the Hezbollah, Hamas, [and] to the Islamic Jihad. It [Iran] trains their [Hezbollah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad] people, [and] it provides [them a] financial and political umbrella, at the expense of its own population, which is in a dire economic state.” A further threat, raised by Ya’alon, is thatÂ Iran could provide nuclear material to its proxies. This could, according to Ya’alon, pose an existential threat to Israel.
Ya’alon remarked that to prevent a nuclear Iran, Iran needs to be brought to the point in which it must make the choice between the bomb and state survival. Iran is a rational state, he argued, and will choose survival. As an example, he brought the period of 2003, prior to the US invasion of Iraq, in which Iran temporarily stopped its nuclear program, for fear that the United States would attack them, instead/as well. Action, however, will need to be taken to bring Iran to that point.Â “We expect the world to be determined in its resolution to prevent this threat from becoming a reality, and to make it clear to the Iranian regime that it is in their own interests to forgo their plan to attain nuclear capabilities.”Â Concluding, Ya’alon explained that “we, in Israel, will not content ourselves with waiting for others to do our work. However, we have to prepare ourselves as well, because, in the words of our sages “Im ain ani li, mi li,” “if I am not for myself, who will be for me?”
For highlights of the speech, watch this: