- JERUSALEM (Agence France Presse) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
condemned a Iranian-Russian nuclear cooperation accord concluded Tuesday
as a threat to the entire region.
- "The building of a nuclear reactor
in Iran only makes it likelier that Iran will equip its ballistic missiles
with nuclear warheads," Netanyahu told Israeli public radio.
- "Such a development threatens peace,
the whole region and in the end, the Russians themselves," Netanyahu
- "I hope that Russia will reconsider
this initiative, which flies in the face of attempts to reach peace and
stability in the region," he added.
- Iran and Russia signed an accord Tuesday
to speed up completion of a controversial nuclear reactor and study development
of other nuclear plants in Iran.
- The memorandum of understanding calls
for the creation of joint research groups to study the addition of a second
unit to the plant, located at the Gulf port of Bushehr, "as well as
to build new-generation nuclear power plants in Iran," the official
news agency IRNA reported.
- Both Moscow and Tehran insist the plant
is for non-military use and say its activities will be subject to scrutiny
by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which monitors nuclear
programs around the world.
- "In our relations with other countries,
we will not be influenced by interference from third parties," Russian
Atomic Energy Minister Yevgeny Adamov said, apparently referring to the
United States as well as Israel.
- Both countries, regarded as Iran's greatest
enemies, have opposed Russian cooperation with Iran on nuclear and military
matters and fear the Islamic Republic may acquire the technological know-how
to build nuclear weapons.
- Israeli military chief of staff Shaul
Mofaz raised the possibility in late September of a preemptive strike
against Iran because of the threat posed by Iranian missiles. Iran's Shahab-3
missile is supposed to be capable of striking Israel.
- To deal with the threat of ballistic
missile attack, Israel has been developing in cooperation with the United
States the Arrow, or Hetz, anti-missile missile, expected to be operational
- Israel's F15-I warplanes, delivered by
the United States earlier this year, are capable of striking Iran or Iraq,
carrying a payload of 11 tonnes of bombs and missiles.
- Israel and Iran were allies when the
Shah ruled in Tehran but have been enemies since the 1979 Islamic Revolution
that overthrew the Iranian leader.
- Israel has a nuclear reactor, as well
as a reputed arsenal of between 100 and 200 nuclear weapons.
- It has never acknowledged being a nuclear
power, and is the only Middle East state that is not a signatory of the
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). ( (c) 1998 Agence France Presse)