Israel Warns of Nuclear Weapons Proliferation to Hezbollah
BY ELI LAKE – Staff Reporter of the Sun
October 16, 2006
URL: http://www.nysun.com/article/41582 WASHINGTON — In the wake of a unanimous U.N. Security Council resolution against North Korea related to its purported nuclear test last week, Israel is warning of the prospect of nuclear proliferation to terrorists.Prime Minister Olmert is explicitly warning about the prospect of Iranian nuclear weapons reaching Hezbollah, the terror militia and political party that holds two Israeli soldiers it kidnapped on July 12, leading to this summer’s war in Lebanon.“If the atomic bomb reaches Iranian hands it will reach other hands. International fears — not only Israel’s — are that these weapons reach other players like Hezbollah,” Mr. Olmert is quoted as saying in Israel’s largest paper, Yedioth Achronot, yesterday.Those words also reflect concerns from Washington in light of North Korea’s announcement last week that it conducted a successful nuclear test. They also reflect Israeli intelligence estimates that trade in sensitive nuclear technology continues between Iran and North Korea.Nonetheless, Mr. Olmert has supported setting sanctions against North Korea and Iran and has not hinted that Israel at some point may be forced to take the matter of an Iranian A-bomb into its own hands. For 20 years, Israeli military planners have been procuring F-15 advanced fighter planes for the express purpose of destroying an Iranian nuclear program. To date, however Mr. Olmert and his predecessor, Ariel Sharon, have intentionally kept a low profile on the international diplomacy surrounding Iran’s A-bomb program.Mr. Olmert tomorrow will be in Moscow for bilateral talks to focus for the most part on the Iranian nuclear program. Russia provided engineers and helped build an Iranian nuclear reactor in Bushehr that was destroyed during the Iran-Iraq war but rebuilt in the 1990s. In addition, the Russians have been loath to support any but the vaguest and weakest sanctions against Iran, a country with which Moscow enjoys a robust arms trade.The U.N. Security Council resolution against North Korea passed over the weekend would commit member states to inspect imports and exports into Pyongyang if there is suspicion that the trade is connected to weapons of mass destruction.Secretary of State Rice will be touring East Asia this week with the aim of establishing an inspections regime among North Korea’s neighbors to stop the leakage of nuclear technology.Already, though, China, which provides North Korea with the majority of its food fuel and money, has warned foreign powers not to regularly inspect that country’s cargo shipments. “China urges the countries concerned to refrain from steps that may intensify tensions,” China’s ambassador to the United Nations, Wang Guangya, said yesterday.On Fox News, Secretary of State Rice yesterday conceded that the details of how the international inspections regime against North Korea would actually work needed to be ironed out. But she said she was certain China would eventually cooperate in future inspections.“I understand that people are concerned about how it might work so that it doesn’t enhance tensions in the region,” Ms. Rice said. “And we’re perfectly willing to have those conversations, but China signed on to this resolution, it voted for this resolution, it is a Chapter 7 mandatory resolution. And so I’m quite certain that China is going to live up to its responsibilities.”Ms. Rice said yesterday that the U.N. Security Council this week would begin work on U.N. sanctions against Iran, conceding that talks initiated by the European Union had been rejected.The chairman of Iran’s national security committee in the Majlis warned that any U.N. resolution punishing his country would force Tehran to deny international inspectors access to suspected nuclear facilities.“Taking such a step will undoubtedly limit the space for International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors and they will be denied the current opportunities,” Alaeddin Borujerd was quoted as saying by the official ISNA news agency.Along with her counterpart at the Department of Treasury, Ms. Rice has already started quietly urging banks to cut ties to Iranian and North Korean front companies involved in the development of biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons, and those with links to terrorism.