Israel's Warning to Iran over Threats

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Byline: By Daniel Oliver

Israeli vice premier Shimon Peres yesterday warned Iran that it could be threatened with destruction if it continues to vow to destroy Israel.

"Be careful with your threats," Peres warned Iran. "Those who threaten to destroy are in danger of being destroyed."

Israel has grown increasingly concerned in recent months by calls from Iran's leader to wipe Israel off the map and Iran's determination to continue its nuclear programme.

The West believes Iran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon and has moved to impose sanctions against the country in the UN Security Council. Iran says its enrichment of uranium is meant for peaceful purposes.

Peres did not say who should act against Iran if it continues with its nuclear programme, but implied military action should be led by the US, pointing to the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Israeli officials have indicated that Israel would join any international operation against Iran.

Peres, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, urged China and Russia to join Western efforts to impose sanctions on Iran. The two countries have been reluctant to back such proposals in the UN Security Council. If all world powers are united against Iran, military action can be avoided, Peres said.

"We can prevent all of this threat, without weapons, if there will be unity," Peres said.

Israel TV's defence analyst, Yoav Limor, said Peres overstepped his bounds in implying Iran should be destroyed.

"There is a broad consensus that it would have been better if Peres had not said this, especially now," Limor said.

"I'm quite sure Israel does not want to find itself in the same insane asylum as (Iranian President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad. …