Missiles could stall Iran nuclear programme: Olmert in German mag
BERLIN, April 28 (AFP) Apr 28, 2007
A rain of missiles could degrade Iran's nuclear programme and set it back years, a German weekly quoted Israel's prime minister as saying, sparking a warning from Tehran that such a strike would be a dangerous "error".
"It may not be possible to destroy all of the Iranian nuclear programme, but it is possible to damage to in such a way it would be set back several years," Ehud Olmert was quoted as saying in Focus magazine in an interview to be published on Monday.
"It's technically feasible. It would require 10 days and the launch of a thousand Tomahawk missiles," he said, according to excerpts made available on Saturday.
But Olmert's office issued a denial that the prime minister had raised the prospect of cruise missile attacks on Iran's nuclear facilities.
"During an informal half-hour discussion with a stringer, the prime minister did not at any time make the statements which were published," said his spokeswoman, Miri Eisin.
"The prime minister has not changed his position: he believes international sanctions are for the moment the most effective means of preventing Iran from pursuing its military nuclear programme," she said in a statement.
She said the premier's office could decide to sue the journalist.
According to Focus, Olmert said "nobody could exclude" military action against Iran if the Islamic republic continued to defy UN resolutions calling for a halt to sensitive atomic work feared to be a step towards building a nuclear arsenal.
Iranian authorities immediately described Olmert's reported comments as empty "bravado," according to the state-run news agency Isna.
The head of its parliamentary foreign affairs commission, Alladin Borojerdy, said: "If the United States and Israel commit such a mistake, they know better than anybody what the consequences will be for themselves."
He added that the head of the UN nuclear watchdog "Mohamed ElBaradei has stated that Iran's nuclear science cannot be destroyed by missile strikes ... because the science is national."
Many of Iran's nuclear facilities are believed to be deep underground, in reinforced bunkers difficult to destroy with conventional weapons.
Israel has repeatedly said in recent weeks that it wants to see the crisis over Iran's programme resolved through diplomatic means.
But unsubstantiated reports have suggested that the Jewish state and the United States have prepared plans for military strikes.All rights reserved. © 2005 Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.