- Title: VARIOUS: Iran tests missiles said to be able to hit Israel and US bases
- Date: 10th July 2008
- Summary: (BN10) JERUSALEM (JULY 9, 2008) (REUTERS) KNESSET MEMBER YUVAL STEINITZ OF THE OPPOSITION LIKUD PARTY WALKING (SOUNDBITE) (English) KNESSET MEMBER YUVAL STEINITZ SAYING: "We are concerned when we hear also the aggressive statements about the destruction of Israel and Tel Aviv but on the other the hand we already developed very good and efficient missile defence, the arrow missile batteries, so we are not that concerned. Let's make it clear- if those missiles, one day, will be equipped with nuclear warheads, this will produce an existential threat to Israel and very serious threat to western Europe altogether. Therefore we have to do our utmost to stop the Iranian nuclear project before such missiles can really become devastated." STEINITZ TALKING TO REPORTERS (SOUNDBITE) (English) RIGHT-WING KNESSET MEMBER ARYEH ELDAD OF NATIONAL UNITY, SAYING: "Unfortunately even the long-range missiles that were tested in Iran will not convince Europe or United States to militarily solve the problem of Iran. It seems that Israel will be left alone to do the job, and the sooner the better."
- Reuters ID: LVA8N9JMWCGU34UQDTGO8BJV3UFM
- Duration: 00:01:25
- Aspect Ratio:
- Topics: Defence / Military
- Story Text: Iran test fired nine long- and medium-range missiles on Wednesday (July 9), state media said, including one which it has said could reach Israel and U.S. bases in the region.
The tests occurred at a time of increased tension between Iran and Israel over Tehran's nuclear programme, which the West fears is aimed at making bombs. Iran, the world's fourth-largest oil exporter, says its programme is only for electricity. .
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice suggested the tests justified U.S. plans for an anti-missile shield with bases in eastern Europe, which Russia firmly opposes.
"Those who say that there is no Iranian threat against which to be building missile defences perhaps ought to talk to the Iranians about ... the range of the missiles that they test fired," Rice said in Bulgaria.
Speculation that Israel could bomb Iran has mounted since a big Israeli air drill last month. U.S. leaders have not ruled out military options if diplomacy fails to end the nuclear row. Diplomacy, however, is still the policy of choice.
"We in the administration are fully committed to diplomacy with regard to the Iranian nuclear issue. We view the use of force as an option that is on the table but as a last resort," U.S. Under Secretary of State for political affairs, William Burns, told the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committee. "Iran reminded us again today that it's moving ahead on missile systems which could be used to deliver a weapon," Burns said.
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and his Republican competitor John McCain responded to Iran's televised launch of nine medium and long-range missiles intended to warn the United States and Israel it was ready to retaliate if they attacked Tehran over its disputed nuclear projects.
Obama described Iran as a "great threat" and called for cooperation with allies to tighten pressure on Tehran.
"Part of what we have to do is get the Europeans, the Chinese, the Russians, all to recognize that it's in nobody's interest, including Iran's, I believe, to have a nuclear weapon that could trigger a nuclear arms race in the region. And that's something that I intend to make a number one priority when I'm in the White House, making sure they don't have that nuclear capability," Obama said.
McCain said the Iranian tests proved the need for a missile-defense shield in Europe and stressed the need for multilateral diplomacy.
"Working with our European and regional allies is the best way to meet the threat posed by Iran, not unilateral concessions that undermine multilateral diplomacy," McCain said in a prepared statement.
In Israel, legislators dismissed Iranian threats to target the Jewish state.
"We are concerned when we hear also the aggressive statements about the destruction of Israel and Tel Aviv, but on the other the hand we already developed very good and efficient missile defence, the arrow missile batteries, so we are not that concerned," parliament member Yuval Steinitz said.
"Let's make it clear- if those missiles, one day, will be equipped with nuclear warheads, this will produce an existential threat to Israel and very serious threat to western Europe altogether. Therefore we have to do our utmost to stop the Iranian nuclear project before such missiles can really become devastated," Steinitz added.
Israel, believed to be the Middle East's only nuclear-armed power, has vowed to prevent Iran from acquiring an atomic bomb.
"Unfortunately even the long-range missiles that were tested in Iran will not convince Europe or United States to militarily solve the problem of Iran. It seems that Israel will be left alone to do the job, and the sooner the better," said right-wing Knesset member Aryeh Eldad of the National Unity party.
The news of Iran's missile launch was debated in the Group of Eight (G8) summit in Toyako, Japan, Italian President Silvio Berlusconi said at a press conference after the conclusion of the summit.
Berlusconi said the U.S. had not made any mention to G8 world leaders at the summit that it was going to pursue a military option against Iran.
"No mention of a military option was made by the United States," he said.
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