Eclipsing the reports last weekend of the attempts in Israel by the freshly elected members of the 19th Knesset to cobble together a new governing coalition was a fast-moving series of reports concerning Iran.
Mohammad Reza Heydari, a former Iranian diplomat who defected in Norway in 2010, gave an interview to Israeli media last Friday in which he unambiguously stated that the theocratic regime in Tehran would have no reservations about using a nuclear weapon against the Jewish state.
“If Iran gets to the point where it has an atomic bomb, it will certainly use it, against Israel or any other [enemy] country,” Heydari told his interviewer on Channel 2.
Two days later, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, at the 26th International Islamic Unity Conference in Tehran, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called, once again, for Israel’s demise.
As reported by The Times of Israel, Ahmadinejad told the assembly: “Under [the] circumstances [in which] the corrupt, uncultured and murderous Zionists are occupying and killing oppressed people, we should not sit idly by.” His meaning was clear to everyone in the large hall.
But even as the Iranian president was speaking to the august assembly on Sunday, he was undoubtedly distracted by reports seeping into western media – despite his best efforts to prevent the seepage – that the prized nuclear facility in Fordo had been set ablaze, apparently by a large explosion.
Iranian officials denied that there had been an explosion or fire at the plant. But the report that found its way into the light was too detailed to be quickly brushed aside. It appeared on the website wnd.com and alleged that the blast destroyed much of the installation and had trapped more than 200 people underground. It further claimed that the blast “shook facilities within a radius of three miles,” that Iranian security forces had “enforced a no-traffic radius of 15 miles,” that the Tehran-Qom highway was shut down for several hours after the blast, and that, “as of [last] Wednesday afternoon [Jan. 23], rescue workers had failed to reach the trapped personnel.”
There were also unconfirmed reports that the United States and Israel knew about the explosion and indeed may have somehow been involved in bringing it about.
The truth will eventually be known. If indeed there was a fire at the Fordo facility and if sabotage played a role, the Iranian regime too, in addition to the facility, will have been rocked.
Tehran can harbor no doubts about the resolve of the countries it continually threatens to deprive it of the means to carry out its threats. Iran’s obsession with obtaining a nuclear weapon will be very high on the policy agenda of the new Israeli government, as it was for the last one.
It should also be high on the agenda of every western government.