Washington – Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the nuclear plant crisis in Japan after the earthquake has made him reverse his previous support for nuclear power.
“I don’t think we are going to pursue civil nuclear energy in the coming years,” Netanyahu told CNN.
In a rare interview since the upheaval across the Middle East broke out, Netanyahu also repeated his concerns about Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons programme and the influence that Iran may gain during the unrest.
He said current United Nations sanctions on Iran for its failure to come clean about its nuclear programme were not enough.
“The only thing that will work is if Iran knows that if it fails to cooperate, there will be credible military actions,” Netanyahu said.
Such actions would be aimed at knocking out Iran’s nuclear facilities, be “preferably” led by the United States, and would not be that difficult, the prime minister said.
Netanyahu sidestepped a question about whether Israel has nuclear weapons, as is widely believed by analysts.
“We have a long-standing policy that we won’t be the first to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East,” Netanyahu said.
The unseating of Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak last month raised unease among Israelis about the fate of a long-standing peace agreement.
Netanyahu said he had tried to call Mubarak during the upheaval but was unsuccessful in getting through.
The deal was signed in 1979, promoted by Egypt’s then-leader Anwar Sadat against opposition from many other Arab countries.
Mubarak had honoured the arrangement through his years in office, Netanyahu said.
“Egypt under Sadat and Mubarak kept the peace, and I think that’s extraordinarily valuable,” he said.