Netanyahu in Holland, warns of danger from Iran

Saudi prince declares ‘we won’t be intimidated’

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Posted on: 
19 Jan 2012
Netanyahu in Holland, warns of danger from Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Holland on Wednesday, where he met with Dutch lawmakers  and identified Iran’s renegade nuclear program as “the issue that most concerns Israel” and said that the Netherlands and Israel “stand together in opposing Iran’s feverish pursuit of nuclear weapons while declaring its intention to wipe Israel off the map.” He added that “nuclear arms in Iran are a threat to Israel, the region and the world. Sanctions should be applied to Iran’s central bank and its oil exports – and they should be applied now. I want to thank the Netherlands for its support for strong sanctions on Iran.”

Meanwhile, the White House was refusing to confirm on Wednesday that US President Barack Obama wrote to Iranian leaders expressing a readiness to talk, after reports leaked out of Teheran that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had dismissed a letter from Obama as containing “nothing new.” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that it was in Iran’s best interests to engage major powers in discussions about its nuclear work. "If the Iranians are serious about restarting talks, then they need to respond to that letter," Carney said. "That is the channel by which...the restarting of those talks would take place."

For a closer look at Iran’s quest for atomic weapons, click HERE

Elsewhere, US Defense Secretary Leon Panneta told reporters on Wednesday that the US  is “fully prepared” for any confrontation with Iran over the strategic Strait of Hormuz, but hopes it won’t be necessary.

“We obviously always continue to make preparations to be prepared for any contingency, but we are not making any special steps ... because we’re fully prepared to deal with that situation now,” Panetta said. “We have always maintained a very strong presence in that region. We have a Navy fleet located there. We have a military presence in that region ... to make very clear that we were going to do everything possible to help secure the peace in that part of the world.”

“Our goal has always been to make very clear that we would hope that any differences that we have, any concerns we have can be peacefully resolved and done through international laws and international rules,” he continued. “We abide by those international laws and international rules. We would hope that Iran would do the same. We have channels in which we deal with the Iranians, and we continue to use those channels.”

On the same day, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said a conflict would be a “catastrophe” and went on to explain that “I have no doubt in the fact that it will only add fuel to the fire of the still-simmering Sunni-Shiite conflict. And I do not know where the subsequent chain reaction will end. There will be large flows of refugees from Iran, including to Azerbaijan, and from Azerbaijan to Russia. ... This will not be a walk in the park.

“Additional unilateral sanctions against Iran have nothing to do with a desire to ensure the regime’s commitment to nuclear non-proliferation,” Lavrov continued. “It is seriously aimed at suffocating the Iranian economy and the well being of its people, probably in the hope of inciting discontent.”

On Tuesday, Prince Turki Al Faisal, former intelligence chief of Saudi Arabia, told a Gulf security conference in Bahrain that his country will use "all available options" to defend itself.

"Any threat to our interests or security will force us to use all available options to defend our interests, and national and regional security," Prince Faisal said in remarks carried by Al Arabiya news channel. "The mounting escalation and persistent tensions might end up in an adventure with unpredictable consequences or in an unwanted military confrontation."

"Iran must not fuel this conflict and must not threaten us when we commit to international decisions," Faisal continued. "It must neutralize the security of Strait of Hormuz and that of the world energy supply. But Iran, "our partner in achieving the objective of security across the region, based on peaceful foundations, has chosen a different policy that constantly undermines regional security and provokes foreign interventions, which it claims it is trying to get rid of."


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