A senior Defense Ministry official on Sunday intimated support for US President Barack Obama’s reported readiness to tolerate a civilian Iranian nuclear program provided that he is satisfied Iran will not seek nuclear weapons.
“What’s important is not to let Iran achieve a nuclear weapons capability,” said the ministry’s Director of Policy and Political-Military Affairs, Amos Gilad, “and the president has made clear that he will not allow Iran to achieve that.”
Gilad was speaking in an Army Radio interview following reports at the weekend that Obama would be willing to accept a civilian Iranian nuclear program and has told the Iranian leadership as much.
According to an analysis by Washington Post columnist David Ignatius published Friday, Obama will give Iran a green light to go ahead with its nuclear pursuits in the event that the Islamic republic guarantees that its ultimate objective is not to acquire a nuclear bomb – a message reportedly conveyed from Obama to Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who met with Obama in Seoul over a week ago.
Last week, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton urged Iran to back up its declaration that Islam bars weapons of mass destruction by agreeing to a plan that would prove it does not intend to develop nuclear arms. She spoke ahead of international talks on Iran’s uranium enrichment program.
Though the meetings were set to take place on April 13 in Istanbul, Iranian officials have recently expressed concern over the pressure that Turkey continues to exert on Syria — a key Iranian ally — and have advocated a change of venue.