Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Tuesday that Israel has the might and power to defend itself against any threat from Iran, indicating a willingness to use military force if necessary against Tehran's nuclear ambitions.
Olmert spoke after Iran defiantly vowed to continue its nuclear program, despite new sanctions the United Nations imposed on Tehran on Monday for refusing to suspend uranimum enrichment, a process necessary to build an atomic bomb.
"Israel definitely sees itself threatened by Iran," Olmert said in a tour of northern Israel. "Israel has the might and power to defend itself against any threat."
But he quickly added, "I don't think the Iranian matter is primarily Israel's responsibility. It is the responsibility of the United States and the leading countries in the international community that are convinced Iran constitutes a threat."
Israel: Latest sanctions against Iran do not go far enough
Jerusalem is disappointed with the latest round of sanctions against Iran passed late Monday night by the Security Council, a government source said Monday. Israel sees them as soft, especially with regard to the list of individuals and institutions on which the sanctions would be imposed.
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Monday that the Security Council's resolution was another essential step expressing the understanding that the international community must not give up and stand idly by in light of Iran's nuclear efforts.
"Any additional decision by any country, member or group, adds more weight to create the mass of sanctions needed to stop Iran, Livni said.
The resolution, passed Monday, authorizes cargo inspections to and from Iran for prohibited materials, additional monitoring of Iranian financial institutions and the freezing of assets of those involved in its nuclear program.
"If the majority supported it, it only shows it doesn't have enough meat," the source said.
The Foreign Ministry's official response stated that the resolution was passed in recognition of the fact that the international community justifiably has no faith in Iran's declarations that its nuclear program is peaceful.
After the resolution was approved, Iran dismissed the current and previous sanctions resolutions as violations of international law and said they only harmed the 15-nation Security Council's credibility.
"The credibility of the Security Council... is readily downgraded to a mere tool of the national foreign policy of just a few countries," Iran's UN ambassador, Mohammed Khazaee, told the council.
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