Bombing Iran to Stop Its Nuclear Plans Is 'An Option,' Israeli Foreign Minister Says

Yisrael Katz told Italy's Corriere della Sera: 'If it were the last possible way to stop this, we would act militarily'

Yisrael Katz at a cabinet meeting, December 1, 2019.
Marc Israel Sellam

Israel would be ready to bomb Iran to stop its nuclear weapon capabilities, Israeli Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz said in a Saturday interview.

"Is bombing Iran an option that Israel is considering?" Katz was asked by Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper.

"Yes, it is an option. We will not allow Iran to produce or obtain nuclear weapons. If it were the last possible way to stop this, we would act militarily," Katz replied.

He criticized European countries for not supporting the hard line the United States has adopted under President Donald Trump, withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal.

"As long as the Iranians delude themselves into thinking they have Europe's backing, it will be more difficult for them to back down," Katz said.

The Israeli minister spoke to the Italian newspaper on the sidelines of MED 2019, a foreign policy conference in Rome where he spoke on Friday.

In his speech, he said it was "high time" for Western and Arab countries to "create a coalition that would threaten Iran and tell it to stop its nuclear program."

Katz made a different controversial remark this week when he said that he would not like to see Jeremy Corbyn win the British election. 

"I won't meddle in internal elections but I personally hope that he won't be elected, with this whole wave of anti-Semitism... I hope the other side wins," he told Israel's Army Radio.

Iran was also a topic in a phone conversation between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, Netanyahu's office said.

The two leaders also discussed the war in Syria, with the aim of avoiding any friction between Israeli and Russian forces.