Mitchell Reports | July 19, 2012
>>> and on israeli television today, prime minister benjamin netanyahu bluntly accused iran and hezbollah of the deadly bombing of young jewish tourists in bulgaria .
>> this attack was part of a global campaign of terror carried out by iran and hezbollah . this campaign has reached a dozen countries on five continents. the world's leading powers should make it clear that iran is the country that stands behind this terror campaign. iran must be exposed by the international community as the premiere terrorist supporting state that it is.
>> michael oren is israel 's ambassador to the united states and joins us now from 30 rock . thank you very much, mr. am bass kor. first of all, yesterday the prime minister said there was a pattern of evidence. now today he was much more blunt. is there hard evidence , do you have a smoking gun?
>> well, our sources confirm, andrea , that hezbollah was behind this. hezbollah takes its marching orders directly from tehran. it's a direct threat leaking the bulgarian massacre, the innocent -- the massacre of innocent israeli young people and bulgarian civilians, linking that to terrorist plots in india, in kenya, in cyprus, in washington, d.c. all of those lines lead directly to iran . that's the same iran that has supplied 70,000 missiles to terrorist organizations along israel 's border. and it's the same iranian regime that is striving assiduously to develop nuclear weaponry .
>> so you're saying that this is linked to, for instance, the alleged attack or threatened assassination attempt against the saudi ambassador in washington, d.c.? you're linking this to the revolutionary guard?
>> we've seen this pattern across the world. it's a global attempt, every several weeks iranian or iranian-backed agents have tried to strike at israeli civilians, israeli diplomats and even american diplomats. plotting to blow up a restaurant in downtown washington , that's pretty brazen. iran is terror incorporated. it is the world's largest supporter of state-backed terror.
>> let me drill down a little bit more on the individual who is the suspected suicide bomber. we're talking about a false michigan driver's license. now there is information from bulgarian media and also in israeli media that we're talking about somebody that had been in guantanamo and was released to stockholm. we know from the database that someone with with the same name was in guantanamo, was released to swedish authorities, was apparently not charged. are we talking about the same individual? do you think you have an i.d. on the person who perpetrated this?
>> i can't confirm it at this time, andrea . what we do know is hezbollah was behind this egregious attack, hezbollah does take its orders directly from iran . it's the same hezbollah operating in syria, supporting the vicious assad regime and massacring syrian civilians. and hezbollah has been behind other terrorist attacks around the world on the direct destructions of the ayatollahs in tehran.
>> if that is your conclusion and we heard from the prime minister there will be action, we heard from the defense minister that accounts will be settled. what is israel going to do?
>> of course, i'm not going to get into operational details here, andrea , but israel has not only the right but the duty to defend itself against these attacks, to defend itself against iranian-backed terror and its declared goal of destroying the jewish state . an opportunity to pledge their commitment to destroying us, to wiping us off the map as they say. israel will defend itself.
>> let me correct a slight misspeak. you just said that israeli officials never miss an opportunity.
>> sorry, iranian officials, of course.
>> okay. okay. it was clear to all of our viewers what you meant. let me get to the broader point here, because the president called prime minister netanyahu yesterday. he said we will give you forensic help. we will give you intelligence. they're obviously offering everybody from the fbi to the cia to help track down these killers. was this an implicit or explicit request not to take direct action ? not to widen this or escalate this? and to let the u.s. and israeli and there are none better than israelis, according to its reputation, go after these terrorists themselves in a targeted way?
>> no, not at all, andrea . president obama immediately condemned this attack. he described it as barbaric. secretary of state clinton also denounced it in unequivocal terms. president obama called prime minister netanyahu last night to convey both his outrage and his condolence to the families of the victim. the united states and israel are partners in the struggle against this type of terrorism, and that partnership is very, very close and it will continue.
>> mr. ambassador, nothing happens in a vacuum. iran has, of course, denied this today, and said that it had nothing to do with it. we are a week away from the start of the olympics, with everybody sort of on edge, certainly, in terms of the security implications. we're in the middle of a presidential election campaign. there are politics involved. is israel simply going to follow its own direction here? or will you take into consideration the fact that things could escalate very quickly here?
>> israel will take whatever steps are necessary, andrea , to defend its citizens. that's our duty, itself right as a sovereign state . yes, we're aware of global situations, but at the end of the day the iranians, again, have never missed on opportunity to reiterate their dream of destroying us and now you see they're acting on these dreams by trying to kill israeli civilians and diplomats around the world, now most recently in bulgaria . and we have to take whatever means are possible to defend ourselves.
>> when you say defend yourself, are we talking about a proportional response or are you talking about what could be considered a pretext to go after other iranian assets including its nuclear program ?
>> again, we can't go into operational or tactical details here, andrea , but israel has a proven record of defending ourselves. that's how we've been able to survive in a very tough neighborhood for 64 years and to have achieved a thriving society and economy and democracy. and we do that by being vigilant and knowing how to stand up for ourselves.
>> ambassador michael oren , thank you so much. and our condolences for all of the losses in bulgaria .