Iran threat prompts anger

ISRAELI defence officials and political pundits rounded on deputy prime minister Shaul Mofaz yesterday after he threatened attacks against Iran, accusing him of exploiting war jitters to advance personal ambitions.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s office has distanced itself from the threat.

Mofaz, a likely challenger to Olmert in their Kadima party, said in an interview with newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth last week, that Israeli strikes on Iran looked “unavoidable” given progress in its nuclear plans.

The remarks helped drive up oil prices by nearly 9% to $139 a barrel on Friday.

“Turning one of the most strategic security issues into a political game, using it for the internal purposes of a would-be campaign in Kadima, is something that must not be done,” Deputy Defence Minister Matan Vilnai told Israel Radio.

Yedioth Ahronoth’s rival, Israeli daily Maariv, made clear its views with headlines “Big Mouth,” and “Demonstrable Damage”.

There was agreement from Yedioth’s economic analyst Sever Plotzker:

“Blathering away about how ‘we’ll attack and destroy you’ does not deter the decision-makers in Tehran, but it does drive the oil markets crazy... And who profits from that? Tehran.”


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