Bolton: Obama won't strike Iranian nuclear reactor
By DOV PREMINGER
Former UN ambassador claims Israel has only 3 days to strike Bushehr before fuel rods mean radioactive fallout; "that's what Israel did in Iraq in 1981."
Former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton said he didn't see "any signs whatsoever that President Obama would make the necessary decision" to strike Iran's nuclear reactor, speaking in an interview with Israel Radio Tuesday.
Bolton claimed Israel has only three days to strike before Russia "begins the fueling process for the Bushehr reactor this Friday," after which any attack would cause radioactive fallout that could reach as far as the waters of the Persian Gulf.
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In an interview with Fox Business Network earlier Tuesday Bolton had said the deadline was eight days, but he revised it to three in the Israel Radio interview, saying Iran and Russia had announced they would begin fueling on Friday.
"It has always been optimal that military force is used before the fuel rods are inserted," Bolton explained. "That's what Israel did in Osirak in 1991, and when they attacked the North Korean reactor built in Syria." Israel bombed the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq in 1981, and a Syrian reactor in 2007.
However Bolton didn't see any indication that an Israeli strike was going to happen. "Obviously if Israel were going to do something it wouldn't exactly be advertising it. But time is short."
Bolton said that it would be "a much more dangerous world" if Iran were to gain nuclear capability. "That's why I think it's so critical. It won't stop with Iran. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, perhaps other states as well."
Iranian nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi said earlier Tuesday that an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities would be an "international crime."
In an interview with IRNA, Salehi said that the impact of such a strike would be global. "This is stipulated in the resolutions passed by the IAEA and the UN Security Council as well as in the resolution adopted at the close of the NPT Review Conference," he stressed.
Russia, who is supplying the uranium fuel for the plant, announced last week that they will begin loading the Bushehr reactor on August 21.
In an initial interview earlier today with Fox Business Network earlier Tuesday, Bolton warned that once the Bushehr facility is operational it will be too late for a military air strike against Iran because such an attack would spread radiation and harm Iranian civilians.
"Once that uranium, once those fuel rods are very close to the reactor, certainly once they're in the reactor, attacking it means a release of radiation, no question about it," Bolton said.
"Iran will achieve something that no other opponent of Israel, no other enemy of the United States in the Middle East really has and that is a functioning nuclear reactor."
Bolton was critical of Russia for aiding Iran in the fueling of the nuclear reactor.
"The Russians are, as they often do, playing both sides against the middle. The idea of being able to stick a thumb in America's eye always figures prominently in Moscow," Bolton concluded.