Israel’s red line with Iran is the enrichment of uranium on Iranian soil, Shaul Mofaz said.
“We have to send the message to the Iranians that we will not let them have nuclear power,” said Mofaz, who is Israel’s transportation minister, a Kadima party candidate to succeed Olmert and the head of the Israeli team in Israel’s strategic dialogue with the United States.
Mofaz met this week in Washington with an American team headed by William Burns, the U.S. undersecretary of state.
At an event Friday morning hosted by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Mofaz said he told Burns that Israel did not object to U.S. participation in the recent multilateral talks in Geneva aimed at persuading the Iranians to end their suspected nuclear weapons program, “but we said that our red line is that uranium enrichment should not take place on Iranian soil.”
Mofaz used his tour in the United States to emphasize that Israel will not take military action against Iran off the table.
Asked about U.S. concerns that tensions in the Middle East may drive up petroleum prices, Mofaz said, “The existence of the State of Israel is more important than gas prices.”
The minister said he was confident he would win the Kadima Party primaries next month and would immediately set about establishing a national unity government.
After Mofaz’s meeting with Burns on Thursday, the Israeli Embassy and the U.S. State Department issued a joint statement saying the goal of the dialogue is to “expand cooperation on regional threats.”
“The United States and Israel share deep concern about Iran’s nuclear program, and the two delegations discussed steps to strengthen diplomatic efforts and financial measures to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapons capability. We also reaffirmed our strong mutual determination to counter Iran’s support for terrorism,” the statement said.