New York: Israel's Deputy Prime Minister on Tuesday hit out at Iran, saying Tehran is behind all the attacks.
Israeli diplomats these days are under huge threat from terrorists, Silvan Shalom said, adding Iran has been, for a long time, trying to target Israeli sites.
Israel has blamed Tehran for targeting its diplomats with bombs in India and Georgia.
Iran has denied responsibility for the bombing of an Israeli diplomatic car in New Delhi that injured four people and the foiled bombing of an Israeli diplomatic car in Tbilisi, Georgia — both on Monday. Those attacks appeared to mirror the recent killings of Iranian scientists by "sticky bombs”.
Also, three Iranians are said to be behind the triple attacks in Bangkok, out of which two have been held.
After meeting UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon yesterday, Shalom told reporters that Iran wants to revive the Persian Empire and once again become a major superpower with a nuclear bomb.
He added that Iran would like to change the types of regimes in the Middle East and take control of all the oil fields in the region as part of its quest for power.
The ancient Persian Empire encompassed millions of miles in Asia, Africa and Europe.
Shalom said if Iranians can change regimes in the Mideast, control its oil wealth and produce a nuclear bomb, "they believe that they will be once again a major superpower in the world”.
Alireza Miryusefi, spokesman for Iran's UN Mission, said: "This is a nonsense statement by (the) representative of a regime that killed thousands of innocents all over the world. This is a unique regime in the Middle East that has a stockpile of nuclear weapons. This regime is pursuing a policy of creating rift among Muslims in the region."
Israel views Iran as a threat to its existence, citing Iranian calls for Israel's destruction, Iran's missile technology capable of hitting Israel, and its support for anti-Israel militant groups. Israel, the US, and many other countries believe Iran's nuclear program is aimed at producing nuclear weapons, though Tehran insists it is purely peaceful and aimed at producing civilian nuclear energy.
Israel is widely believed to have an arsenal of nuclear weapons but has never admitted it, pursuing instead an official policy of "ambiguity" hoping to deter potential attackers.
Four rounds of UN sanctions have failed to get Tehran to suspend uranium enrichment and return to negotiations with world powers on its nuclear program.
Shalom said Iran believes nuclear weapons are an "insurance policy to keep the regime in power”, but he expressed hope that tough new sanctions by the European Union, the US, and others might lead Iran to give up its nuclear program. These new sanctions banned the purchase of Iranian oil and froze the assets of the country's central bank.
Shalom was pessimistic about reviving peace negotiations with the Palestinians following the recent power-sharing agreement between Hamas leaders who control Gaza and refuse to recognise Israel's existence and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement which controls the West Bank and advocates a two-state solution.
"How can we have a dialogue with a government that half of it is asking to destroy us?," Shalom asked.
Shalom said it's unfortunate that in every country that experienced a popular uprising, including Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, Islamist groups that are "more hostile toward Israel than their predecessors" came to power.
(With Agency’s inputs)
First Published: Wednesday, February 15, 2012, 09:09