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 Post subject: Iran ambitions a recipe 'for its own destruction'
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2006 12:11 am 

Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2006 4:13 pm
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Location: South Australia
Iran ambitions a recipe 'for its own destruction'
Abraham Rabinovich in Jerusalem
January 23, 2006
ISRAEL'S Iranian-born Defence Minister, Shaul Mofaz, has warned Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who hails from the same home town, that he will bring destruction on his people if he pursues his "extremist" ambitions.

While relying "at present" on international efforts to forestall Iran's nuclear efforts, Mr Mofaz said Israel would take the matter into its own hands if necessary.

"I want to address President Ahmadinejad, who is from the city where I was born," he said. "I address you as someone who leads his country with an ideology of hate, terror and anti-semitism. I suggest you look at history and see what happened to others who tried to wipe out the Jewish people. In the end they brought destruction on their own people."

The two men hail from the city of Garmsar, southeast of Tehran, which Mr Mofaz left at the age of nine with his family in 1957 to emigrate to Israel. Mr Ahmadinejad was born there in 1956.

Mr Mofaz's mention of his Iranian roots might have been intended to counter Mr Ahmadinejad's call for Israelis to be "sent back" to Europe. Half of Israeli Jews hail from the Muslim world, including Iran.

Israeli President Moshe Katsav was born in Iran, as was a former Israeli Air Force commander, Eitan Ben-Eliyahu. Israeli Chief of Staff Dan Halutz also has partial Iranian roots.

Mr Mofaz's warning to Iran was the sharpest yet by an Israeli leader. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who remains in a coma after his stroke three weeks ago, had been circumspect on the subject, saying that the issue was not one on which Israel was taking the lead.

Noting that the international community was preparing to bring the matter to the UN, Mr Mofaz declared that Israel was "not prepared to accept the nuclear arming of Iran and it must prepare to defend itself, with all that that implies".

The minister's remarks came as Iran yesterday denied reports it had shifted funds out of European banks to Southeast Asia for fear that they might be frozen by international sanctions. "At the moment, Iran does not have any schedule to transfer its foreign exchange accounts to the named countries," said Mohammad-Jafar Mojarad, an Iranian Central Bank official.

Mr Mofaz also hinted at further unilateral pullbacks on the West Bank if it could find no effective Palestinian negotiating partner.

Israel yesterday permitted jailed Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti to be interviewed in his cell by two Arab television stations, al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya.

The highly unusual permission appeared to be a transparent Israeli effort to help the mainstream Fatah in the Palestinian legislative elections on Wednesday. The popular Barghouti, who has been in prison for the past four years for his involvement in the intifada, heads the Fatah list of parliamentary candidates even though he is serving a life sentence.

Polls published at the weekend show Fatah leading Hamas by 2 per cent.

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