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Vanunu: Israeli nukes push neighbor states to get atomic arms

The Associated Press
6 Dec 04

LONDON - Israel's atomic weapons are pushing other countries in the Middle East to develop similar arms, nuclear whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu said Sunday.

He also said that tensions over Iran's nuclear activities were linked to the Israeli arsenal.

Iran insists its nuclear program is strictly for the generation of electricity. But the United States suspects the Middle East nation has a secret program to develop nuclear weapons, and has threatened to refer Iran to the United Nations Security Council for sanctions.

"Iran tried to put pressure on the world to deal with Israel," Vanunu told Sky News TV, defying a government order that bans him from talking to the media.

"Iran doesn't need, I think, atomic bombs. Iran doesn't want to fight any state with atomic bombs," he said. "But because the world [is] ignoring Israel, that pushes Iran and other states to try to be equal with Israel."

Vanunu also said he felt unsafe living in Israel, although he didn't specify what threat he faced. A convert to Christianity, he has been living at St. George's Anglican Cathedral in Jerusalem since his release from jail in April.

"I don't feel safe, I don't feel free, the only place I can feel freedom and enjoy new life after 18 years will be far away from Israel, abroad in England, or in Europe, or the United States," he told Sky News TV.

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