Israel: 'Time Running Out' After Iran Satellite Launch
By Robert Berger
04 February 2009
Israel says Iran's satellite launch is a "technological achievement" that points to a growing nuclear threat. A statement by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned that Iran has improving missile technology capable of delivering a nuclear bomb that could hit Israel and beyond.
"The proven capability to launch the satellite, to launch it into orbit, shows something about the missile technology of Iran and it is worrying," said Israel Space Agency chairman and parliament member Isaac Ben-Israel.
Iran says the satellite is for peaceful purposes, but Ben-Israel says that is nonsense.
"If you translate the missile technology, missile capability, to what will happen if they will take the same technology and use it for a ballistic missile, it means that they can deliver a bomb to Western Europe," he said.
Ben-Israel said Iran is about a year away from acquiring the technology and materials to build a nuclear weapon. Therefore, he said Israel has a one-year window in which it could launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. He said this would not destroy Iran's nuclear program, but would set it back for years.
With Iran's president threatening to wipe Israel "off the map," Israeli leaders have warned time and again that there is a military option, though they say it is a last resort.
In his statement, the defense minister urged the U.N. Security Council to tighten sanctions on Iran because, "time is running out."
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