Israel's Danon: 'We Will Count Only on Ourselves'
Israel's Deputy Minister of Defense, Danny Danon, told Breitbart News on Tuesday that Israel was prepared to act alone in preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power. His message echoed that of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who addressed the United Nations General Assembly earlier in the day and warned: "Israel will not allow Iran to get nuclear weapons. If Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone."
Asked about whether Israel could, in fact, carry out a successful pre-emptive strike against Iran, Danon said: "We have the capability and means to do whatever is necessary, both short- and long-range capability." Pressed further, Danon said he "will not get into practical plans," but, when asked, would not rule out political as well as military targets in Iran. "If we will have to act, we will do whatever necessary," he said.
Danon added that Israel was not convinced by the new tone adopted by Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani, even if President Barack Obama had seized on that shift as an opportunity for diplomacy. "We are more skeptical," Danon said, "maybe because we live in the region, not to buy all the nice interviews and declarations. Iran's leader comes to the UN and smiles--and then goes back and builds nuclear weapons."
Though he would not rule out a diplomatic solution, saying that Israel remained "open" if not "optimistic," Danon stressed that Israel could not trust Iranian assurances that were not backed up by verifiable action to dismantle nuclear weapons programs. "We do not have the luxury of taking that risk," he said, adding that Israel would "keep all options on the table, including military action, even if Israel must act alone."
"If we are left by ourselves, we will count only on ourselves," Danon said. He declined to answer direct questions about the Obama administration's new outreach to Iran, saying that the main issue was not whether talks would take place but whether time would run out. "The main issue is an issue of time, and that Iranians could imitate the North Koreans, who talked and then in the end surprised everybody."