While speaking to the main pro-Israel lobby, in the US, Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert (photo) said Iran must be shown that if the country did develop such weapon, the consequences would be devastating.
He said that drastic measures are needed to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, just like John McCain, the Republican candidate for the White House, declared on Monday, in front of the same assembly.
Iran has been accused, by the US and others of building a nuclear arms capability, but Tehran keeps saying that its programme is peaceful.
Israeli prime minister is expected to discuss the Iranian nuclear issue with the US president.
Ehud Olmert told members of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) that targeted economic sanctions imposed against Iran were not enough.
“The long-term cost of a nuclear Iran greatly outweighs the short-term benefits of doing business with Iran”, he said.
He added that Iran’s flouting of the international measures so far “leave no doubt as to the urgent need for more drastic and robust measures”.
He said that“the international community has a duty and responsibility to clarify to Iran, through drastic measures, that the repercussions of their continued pursuit of nuclear weapons will be devastating.”
But he did not specify what these measures might be.
He also talked about peace with the Palestinians, saying it was “attainable”, and pledged to pursue a “historic breakthrough” for peace by the end of the year.
Ehud Olmert intervention followed a speech by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (photo, from nouvelobs.com), in which he insisted his country would not make nuclear weapons, but would continue its civilian nuclear programme.
Earlier, the UN’s watchdog urged Iran to give “full disclosure” on its atomic work, saying the country’s alleged research into warheads was of “serious concern”.
While visiting the US, Ehud Olmert is facing pressure at home over corruption allegations, which he denies.
He has denied taking $500,000 (£250,000) in bribes or illegal campaign donations.
He has not been charged, but says he would resign if indicted.