MK Danny Danon: We Have the Military Capability to Make Sure Iran Does not Become Nuclear (INTERVIEW Part 3)
One of Israel’s rising political stars, MK Danny Danon is Deputy Speaker of the Knesset and a member of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s governing Likud party. Visiting the United States to promote his newly published book, Israel: The Will to Prevail, published by Palgrave Macmillan, Danon sat down with The Algemeiner to discuss an array of pressing issues. Subjects covered include President Obama’s relationship with Israel, the Iranian nuclear threat and possible steps that Israel might take, and the recent killing of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya in a violent Islamist attack on the country’s U.S. consulate.
Below is the third installment of the interview focused on the Iranian nuclear threat and Israel’s efforts to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear armament. Part 1 can be read here, and part 2 can be read here.
AJ: Do you think it’s likely that Israel will take military action against Iran?
DD: Yes, it’s an option. We’re getting ready for that. We’re preparing on one hand the military for that, and on the other hand the home front, which is harder because there will be retaliation, not only from Iran but from Hezbollah and Hamas. So it means that it will be unpleasant for a few weeks in Israel. But if we look at the other option to sit idly by and not do anything, to allow Iran to become nuclear – I don’t think it’s an option.
AJ: There’s a lot of discussion here in the United States about Israel drawing America into a war. What does Israel want from the United States?
DD: We are asking for the moral decision of President Obama. I think when you have to identify right and wrong, we expect for Obama to say ‘We support Israel. They’re the good guys in this game.’ Then you can actually discuss what it means. It can be certain kinds of missiles. It can be support in the U.N. You can discuss it among allies.
But I think what we see today is that we don’t even get this kind of moral support from the United States.
AJ: Has Israel ever implied or asked the United States to take military action on its own?
DD: No, but we do think it should be a joint effort, that it shouldn’t only be a war of Jews against Iran. It should be a joint effort of the Western societies, including the United States of America. And the threat is not only on Israel; it’s a threat to the American people, as well.
AJ: There’s a lot of different talk about a timeline, a time frame. Where do you think things are holding at the moment? It seems like the clock keeps changing, the red line keeps moving. How much time do you think there is?
DD: We can argue about the month, but let’s put it this way – in 2013 it will be the end game. We will get to the point where we have to take action, so even if the people in the U.S. Army are right and we are wrong, we are not talking about years. We are talking about months. If it will not be November, it will be May of next year. Still you need to take action, and I don’t see the willingness to confront the reality here in the U.S.
AJ: There’s been some recent talk here from the administration that Israel doesn’t have the capability to do that much damage at all. Do you think there’s any truth to that?
DD: First of all, let’s put the facts on the ground. The U.S. has much more capability than Israel. By all means – the special missiles, the bunker buster missiles that you have, special missiles that the U.S. has that Israel doesn’t. It will be much easier and much more effective if the U.S. would join the effort. But if nobody’s there, we do have the capability. I can’t go into specifics, but we have the military capability to make sure Iran does not become nuclear.
AJ: To completely neutralize or only to delay?
DD: Well, you know, there’s no 100 percent in this decision, but for sure to delay and maybe even to completely destroy its capability.
AJ: Comparing to what Syria had in 2007, how many times bigger would you say Iran’s nuclear infrastructure is?
DD: It’s much, much bigger. It’s spread in many locations. We’re not talking about an in-and-out operation like we did in 1981 with the Osirak reactor in Iraq. It’s a different story, and that makes it much more complex. Refueling, ammunition, it’s much harder for Israel rather than if the U.S. would be involved in such an attack.
AJ: Do you think Israel might use an EMP warhead in an attack like this?
DD: I don’t know. First we need to make the decision, and then we will let the army recommend about how to achieve the decision.