In an interview with German TV, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Iran’s desire to possess nuclear weapons was like that of other western nations. The prime minister’s statements caused a political storm, as he appeared to publicly confirm that Israel has nuclear weapons.
“Israel is a democracy, Israel doesn't threaten any country with anything, never did,” he said. “The most that we tried to get for ourselves is to try to live without terror, but we never threaten another nation with annihilation. Iran openly, explicitly and publicly threatens to wipe Israel off the map. Can you say that this is the same level, when they [Iran] are aspiring to have nuclear weapons, as America, France, Israel, Russia?”
The Prime Minister's Office later attempted to minimize the damage and rejected the claim that Olmert violated the nuclear ambiguity policy by admitting that Israel possesses nuclear weapons.
Sources said Olmert only referred to the fundamental issue and by no means intended to speak about the existence or absence of nuclear weapons.
The comments sparked fury among some Knesset members, calling for the prime minister’s resignation.
Also, in the interview, the prime minister called on the German and Italian governments to cut their economic ties with Iran.
“You may have economic interest, you may have business interest but you have deeper, and more fundamental, moral obligations to yourself, to your history and to your future and it will be a testing ground on the issue of Iran and no one will be able to avoid it and get away with it, no one certainly, not the German people. This is a responsibility of the highest order,” Olmert said.