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13 Sep, 2009 16:46

“No peaceful solution to Iran’s nuclear ambitions”

Israel says there's no time to waste and the moment to act on Iran is now. Tensions between the two countries seem close to the boiling point, with many experts saying Israel could be considering a nuclear attack.

“Not only that nuclear Iran will expose an existential threat to the state of Israel, it will also be a threat to all Gulf states, the Near East and the entire world, taken into consideration that there are vital interests of the US and Europe in the Middle East,” explains General Danny Yatom, former chief of the Israeli intelligence agency, the Mossad. “If Iran has a bomb, all the rules of the game will change for the worse and the world will be in disorder. So there should be a solution. I hope it will be peaceful, but I’m not sure it’s possible.”

But even if Iran finally acquires nuclear weapons, it won’t be directed at Israel, argues Samih Abdallah, assistant editor-in-chief from Egypt's Al-Ahram newspaper.

“It will be directed not at Israel, but at the Gulf states, as Iran would like to increase its influence and have a more powerful role in the area,” says Samih Abdallah.

Even with Iran not yet having a nuclear bomb, things don’t look alluring, he says.

“Israel is a nuclear power and as long as Israel keeps its nuclear capabilities, it will give room for Iran to debate the issue,” says Samih Abdallah.

Professor Anatol Lieven from King's College in London says an Israeli attack could be catastrophic for relations between the West and the Muslim world.

“The consequences, in my view, will be absolutely disastrous. It would unite Shiite and Sunni against the United States and the West. It would lead to Iranian support of the Taliban in Afghanistan – and will lead to a very rapid loss of that war by the West. It would encourage radicalization and terrorism in many parts of the Muslim world. I can hardly imagine one single act which would be worse for relations between Islam and the West or for the West’s position in the Muslim world.”