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Iran Nuclear Issues: Middle Eastern and IsraeIi Views

The New York Times newspaper reports Iran’s nuclear program has spurred interest in establishing nuclear power programs by a number of neighbouring countries, including Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt. According to the report, “roughly a dozen states in the region have recently turned to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna for help in starting” nuclear programs. The article also described neighbouring states as very hostile to any nuclear weapons program Iran might embark on, stating “many diplomats and analysts say that the Sunni Arab governments are so anxious about Iran’s nuclear progress that they would even, grudgingly, support a United States military strike against Iran.”

However, both Egypt and Saudi Arabia have had nuclear programs that predate the controversy over Iran’s nuclear program. Egypt was also found to have hidden nuclear activities from the IAEA. The interest in nuclear power shown by the Mideast nations is also shared by many nations, and corresponds to an increased world-wide interest in nuclear power.

IsraeIi Views

Israel characterizes Iran’s nuclear program as an “existential threat” to that nation, an Israeli leaders assert that “all options” are kept open in dealing with Tehran. However, some Israeli officials have privately rejected such a characterization of Iran’s program. Israel as -ejected the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate conclusion that Iran had stopped its ear weapons program in 2003, insisting that it has additional evidence of an active and continued Iranian nuclear weapons program. Israel has also rejected the IAEA’s November 2007 and and February 2008 reports on Iran, and Israeli officials have called for the resignation of IA.EA Director General Ll Baradei, accusing him of being “pro-Iranian”

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