Date registered: Aug 2002
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Jimmy Carter blows lid off Israel nukes
NEWS WIRE SERVICES
Tuesday, May 27th 2008, 4:00 AM
LONDON - Loose lips, Jimmy. Loose lips.
Former President Jimmy Carter has revealed Israel holds at least 150 nuclear weapons - the first time a U.S. President has publicly acknowledged the Jewish state's atomic arsenal.
At a news conference in Wales Monday, Carter dropped the bomb while describing how tough it would be for Iran to build a nuclear arsenal. A former Israeli military intelligence chief criticized Carter's comments as "irresponsible."
"The problem is that there are those who can use these statements when it comes to discussing the international effort to prevent Iran getting nuclear weapons," said Aharon Zeevi-Farkash.
Carter, responding to a question, said, "The U.S. has more than 12,000 nuclear weapons, the Soviet Union [Russia] has about the same, Great Britain and France have several hundred, and Israel has 150 or more ..."
While the existence of Israeli nuclear weapons is widely assumed, Israeli officials have never admitted their existence, and U.S. officials have stuck to that line in public for years.
Israel has 150 nuclear weapons in its arsenal, former President Jimmy Carter said yesterday, while arguing that the US should talk directly to Iran to persuade it to drop its nuclear ambitions.
His remark, made at the Hay-on-Wye festival which promotes current affairs books and literature, is startling because Israel has never admitted having nuclear weapons, let alone how many, although the world assumes their existence. Nor do US officials deviate in public from that Israeli line. Carter, who has immersed himself since his presidency in Israeli-Palestinian relations, was highly critical of Israeli settlers on the West Bank, and of Israel's refusal to talk to elected officials of the Islamic party Hamas, although he said that Israel's security was his prime concern.
Carter, whose presidency was dominated by the 444-day siege in which Iran held 52 American diplomats hostage, said "my advice to the US would be to start talking to Iran now" to persuade it to drop its nuclear work. But he cited Israel's nuclear arsenal - and those of the US, Russia, China, Britain and France - in arguing that Iran would find it almost impossible to develop, in secret, many weapons and the missiles to deliver them.
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