By ISRAEL HAYOM—
The “dictatorial, evil, and bloodthirsty” Iranian regime must be immediately placed in a position in which it needs to choose between developing nuclear weapons and its own survival, Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon said on Tuesday at a memorial ceremony in Bulgaria for the victims of last month’s terrorist attack in Burgas.
“Harsher sanctions must be imposed on Iran and there shouldn’t be an illusion that we are facing a conventional regime,” Ya’alon said at the main synagogue in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia. “No option should be taken off the table. As soon as possible, before it is too late, the violent and dictatorial Iranian regime must be faced with a dilemma. A bomb or survival.”
“The dangerous Iranian leaders are serious in their intentions,” he said. “This is why they are developing a military nuclear program, which is at a very advanced stage, and they could use this deadly weaponry, also through terror attacks in various locations around the globe,” he said.
Ya’alon expanded on those statements in an interview on Army Radio on Wednesday morning.
“The Iranian regime can only decide to give up its military nuclear project if there is a threat to its survival,” Ya’alon said. “This already happened in 2003 when there was a threat of an American attack and Tehran stopped the program. This can still be repeated. It is possible to bring about a situation in which there is a threat to the regime’s survival via economic sanctions, diplomatic isolation, a credible threat of military action, in addition to moral support for the internal opposition.”
Ya’alon was also asked whether there is a majority in the Forum of Nine in favor of striking Iran’s nuclear sites.
“The situation now is not what it was a month or a year ago or what it will be in the future,” he said. “When the question becomes necessary, it will become clear whether there is a majority or not.”
Ya’alon added that he hoped that “the righteous work would be done by others, but we have to prepare as if no one else will do it for us.”
On Tuesday in Sofia, Ya’alon that Western nations must unite to fight radical Islamist terror and he accused Iran of funding, arming, and training terrorists.
“This terror is often carried out by Iran’s proxy — the murderous Hezbollah organization,” Ya’alon said. “Its goal is to destroy Western culture, spread the Islamic Revolution, and erase Israel from the map,” Ya’alon, who is also Minister for Strategic Affairs, said.
Five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver were killed on July 18 when a suicide bomber detonated an explosive device in the vicinity of a tour bus in a Burgas Airport parking lot. Israel has said that Iran and Hezbollah were responsible for the attack.
“We, the state of Israel and the republic of Bulgaria, will not rest until we catch all the wrongdoers who were involved in this terrible attack,” Ya’alon said on Tuesday. “We will pursue them until the end and fight them with all means until we bring them to justice. We will do this without hesitation and without blinking.”
Ya’alon met on Tuesday with Bulgarian Defense Minister Anyu Angelov and called on the European Union to add Hezbollah to its list of terrorist organizations.
The attendees at Tuesday’s ceremony in Sofia included family members of the Israelis killed in the attack.
Yaakov Kolangi, whose son Itzik was killed in the attack, thanked Bulgaria on behalf of the victims’ families.
Iran insists on right to enrich uranium
Iran’s envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency told reporters on Tuesday that Iran would continue to enrich uranium.
“Our enrichment activities will never stop,” Asghar Soltanieh said. “We have the right to continue to carry out these activities and we will continue to do so under IAEA supervision. We will not give up our inalienable right to enrichment.”
Also on Tuesday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry said diplomats attending the Non-Aligned Movement conference in Tehran would not be permitted to visit Parchin and other nuclear sites in the country, refuting a report from the previous day that they would be allowed to do so.