Monday, August 15, 2005

Israeli hawks circle Iran's N-plants

Ever since its 1979 Islamic revolution the only fate Iran has had in mind for Israel has been simple: its destruction. Now that Teheran seems to be moving towards acquiring its own nuclear arsenal, its plans for its great enemy threaten to be both fiery and radioactive.

Sometimes Iran's stated policy towards Israel is couched in inflammatory rhetoric, like that on a 40ft banner that used to hang outside the entrance of the foreign ministry in Teheran bearing the message: "Israel Must Burn".

Sometimes the language is tamer, such as the "Down With Israel" chants of students who march after Friday prayers in Teheran week in, week out.

But whatever the tone, the message remains the same. The Jewish state has survived wars, internal upheaval, intifadas and bloody entanglements in the internal affairs of its neighbours. But now a major enemy, one committed to its annihilation, appears close to deploying the most destructive force known to Man.

"Having the ayatollah regime armed with nuclear weapons is an existential threat to the state of Israel," Mark Regev, senior spokeman at its foreign ministry, admitted grimly. "We take the issue extremely seriously.''

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