February 3, 2009
By Asaf Ronel
The Gaza operation was merely a “pre-introduction” to the challenge Israel would face from Iran, which will become a nuclear power within a year, the Israeli ambassador to Australia said Sunday.
According to Australia’s Channel 7 television, Ambassador Yuval Rotem made the statement at a meeting with leaders of the Sydney Jewish community, having first asked that the cameras be switched off.
While being filmed before the discussion, Rotem said, “The best thing to do is to have a very open dialogue if there are no reporters or journalists here,” before telling the cameraman to stop filming.
“He said that Israel’s recent military offensives were a pre-introduction to the challenge Israel expects from a nuclear-equipped Iran within a year,” Channel 7 reporter Sarah Cummings said. She also quoted Rotem as saying “Israel’s efforts in Gaza were to bring about understanding that we are ready to engage in a decisive way.”
Before the cameras were turned off, Rotem said there was room to build new alliances to face Iran, which he called the strategic threat facing all of us. He said Qatar moved toward Iran in 2009, along with radical Islamic elements, seeming to believe no one will prevent Iran from going nuclear.
Asked to clarify his statements, Rotem said Israel was committed to the diplomatic and economic effort to stop Iran, but that like the Americans, it considers nuclear weapons to be a strategic threat. Uranium enrichment by Iran must be stopped – period, said Rotem.