Israel is concerned about the re-election of hardline Iranian President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, saying it will increase regional tensions and
Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon issued a statement saying the election results show that Iran will continue its quest for nuclear weapons.
He said that if there was "any shred of hope for change in
Iran," the election demonstrates the increasing Iranian threat. Ayalon
urged the international community to take tougher action to stop Iran's
nuclear program and said there should be no dialogue with the Islamic
That seemed to be a clear reference to U.S. President Barack Obama's plan to open talks with Iran.
Israeli analyst Dore Gold says so far, Iran has used negotiations with the West to buy more time to build the atom bomb.
"When push comes to shove the Iranians know that they can complete their program and the West is not likely to do anything about it," said Gold. "And in the meantime, the Iranian program is going full steam ahead."
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has threatened to wipe the Jewish state "off the map," so his re-election increases the likelihood of an Israeli pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.
"Israel cannot allow Iran to acquire an operational nuclear capability, and I think Israeli leaders have made that point repeatedly," said Gold.
Israel says time is running out. Military intelligence says Iran could acquire the materials and technology to make a nuclear bomb by the end of the year.
While the United States and Israel believe Iran is developing nuclear weapons, Mr. Ahmadinejad has repeatedly said Iran's nuclear program is peaceful and is aimed at generating electricity for the people of Iran. He has insisted that nothing will stop Iran's nuclear research.