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Israel Says North Korean Nuclear Test Will Embolden Iran


A senior Israeli official says North Korea's announcement that it has conducted a nuclear test shows the failure of the international community's efforts to stop Pyongyang's nuclear program and will only embolden others, like Iran, to step up their own efforts to develop such weapons.

Like most everywhere in the world, North Korea's reported nuclear test was the top story on Israeli radio and television news.

North Korea may be far away, but Israelis have been looking with increasing concern over their shoulders at nearby Iran, which adamantly seeks to develop nuclear capability, although Tehran denies that it wants to develop nuclear weapons.

Talks between the international community and Iran have not succeeded in halting Tehran's ambitions, and the U.N. Security Council is expected to discuss possible sanctions.

Senior Israeli lawmaker Ephraim Sneh says North Korea's reported nuclear test should be a lesson that condemnations and talking are not enough.

Sanctions may work, Sneh says. But, he notes that, if sanctions are imposed on Iran, they must be tough ones. Sneh advocates an embargo on refined petroleum to Iran. He says, while Iran has plenty of crude oil, it lacks the refineries to adequately supply the country's needs. He says such sanctions might make Iran take note.

Soli Shawhar takes a tougher approach. He does research on Iranian issues at Haifa University and told Israel radio, the reported North Korea test shows that, even that country's economic hardships did not deter its quest for a nuclear bomb.

Shawhar warns, sanctions will not work with Iran either. He advocates more aggressive action - toppling the regime. He says the North Korean action could be the last warning before a nuclear test by Iran.

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