U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday rejected any comparison between the international community's handling of Iran's nuclear program and its policy of appeasement toward Nazi Germany in 1938.
"I am fond of historical analogies, but not that fond," Rice told Haaretz in an interview, responding to a question about the analogy frequently cited by opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu.
However, she did lambaste Iran's behavior. "We clearly face a country that is pursuing policies in an assertive way that are contrary to the interests of the United States and are contrary to the interests of all people who want a peaceful Middle East," she said.
"We are seeing it in Iraq, where the Iranians continue to support destabilizing activities, including the transfer of technologies that are killing our soldiers. We see it in Lebanon; we see it in the Palestinian territories. Unfortunately, Syria has decided to be Iran's sidecar in all of these activities ... [And] of course, the Iranians are seeking nuclear technologies that could lead to a nuclear weapon. This, with a president in Iran who says things that should never be said by the president of any nation, that 'Israel should be wiped off the face of the map.'"
Rice detailed the steps that Washington has taken to contain Iran, including securing the unanimous passage of a UN Security Council resolution on sanctions, which "was a shock, I think, to the Iranians," sending an additional aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf, and initiating various activities that target Iran's banking system and foreign investment in Iran.
Can we Israelis rest assured that it is not 1938?
Rice: "I can't speak to that historical analogy, but I can tell you that the one thing that we do know is that when the international community does not come together early to address aggressive behavior, that it never turns out well, and that's why it is important to address Iranian behavior now, not later."
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