One of the most pressing questions today for Israel and her friends is this: How can Iran be stopped from obtaining (and using) nuclear weapons? The answer may not be what you think. Murray Farber is a retired journalist in Fresno.
By Murray Farber
Visiting Fresno yesterday, Israeli TV newsman Gil Tamary offered his opinion on a hot current question: Should Israel, the U.S. or any other country bomb Iran to block its development of nuclear weapons?
No, Tamary said. Even an extended campaign of bombing would probably destroy only 40 to 50 percent of Iran’s work, only enough to delay but not stop Iran’s nuclear project. Instead, he urged strong sanctions – not just cosmetics – by a coalition of nations to block the development of nuclear weapons.
Real sanctions could be effective: although Iran is the world’s second largest producer of oil, Tamary stressed that Iran lacks refineries and relies on facilities in other countries for the refined products necessary for her economy. He also added that the country’s economy is mostly in the hands of 10 wealthy Iranians; freezing their assets would put it on hold.
Iran needs billions of dollars in investments to keep its economy going. Where is this coming from? Unfortunately, it’s not only China and Russia that are helping Iran as the public seems to think. He noted that Italy provides $6 billion a year in loans and assistance; Germany $5 billion; France $3 billion; and Spain $1 billion.
These countries don’t seem to realize that although Iran’s missiles can hit Israel this year, by next year they will reach Europe and within five years could strike the U.S. East Coast. But today only Israel and the United States seem to understand the gravity of the situation.
So, he argued, Israel needs to do her best to make this apparent. Ahmadinijad would like it to look like his quarrel is only with Israel, knowing that Israel’s support in the rest of the world is weak. But Iran’s program is a worldwide threat. There is still time, Tamary said, for Israel to alert the world and create delays during which the growing dissent in Iran might lead to a government that replaces Ahmadinijad as prime minister, and which values prosperity over destroying Israel.
Ahmadinijad – whom Tamary has interviewed – is totally focused on Israel. Tamary compared him to Hitler in his single-minded hatred. He noted that even the United Nations voted 103 to 1 to deplore denial of the Holocaust; of course, the one vote came from Iran.
But what if Iran did attack? Tamary quoted an Israeli government official who said, “We will not just sit there and count the missiles falling on our heads”.
Tamary is the Washington bureau chief for Israel’s TV networks, served as a news anchor and commentator on “Good Morning Israel”. Among his major news stories was an exclusive interview with then president, Bill Clinton, who outlined his vision for peace and his commitment to Israel.