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Peres warns of arms race if Iran acquires bomb

Israel's Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres
by Staff Writers
Jerusalem (AFP) May 22, 2006
A nuclear-armed Iran could inspire other regional heavyweights such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia to acquire their own atomic weapons, Israel's Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres said Monday.

"The world as we know it will change fundamentally if Iran succeeds in acquiring the atomic bomb," Peres, who is considered the father of Israel's own nuclear programme, told a conference in Tel Aviv.

"There are already countries which are preparing themselves for such a situation. Among those which we should into account are Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia," added Peres, a Nobel peace prize winner.

"We cannot dream of a beautiful morning if we have a situation where everyone who has a problem, some kind of conflict or ambition, gets hold of nuclear arms and there's no one to control them."

Peres has been increasingly vocal in Israel's campaign to stir international opposition to Iran's nuclear programme which Tehran insists is only designed to meet energy needs rather than a front to develop atomic weapons.

In an interview earlier this month, the former premier warned that Iran risks its own destruction if it tries to wipe out the Jewish state.

Israel is considered the only country in the Middle East to possess a nuclear arsenal, estimated at some 200 nuclear warheads, although the Jewish state has never confirmed or denied it holds such weapons.

Related Links

UN nuclear chief seeks compromise on Iran
Vienna (AFP) May 22, 2006
UN nuclear watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei left for Washington on Monday where he is expected to urge US officials to leave room for a face-saving compromise over Iran's nuclear ambitions, diplomats said.

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