It also opposed efforts by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to develop nuclear weapons that would enable him to dominate the region. Iraq's program ended after an Israeli bombing raid in 1981 that destroyed Iraq's Osirak plutonium-generating nuclear reactor at Tuwaitah. Hussein had claimed the facility was devoted to developing nuclear power plants.
In 2008, Israel reportedly tried to get U.S. support for a possible strike against Iran's nuclear facilities, though it is unclear how serious the attempt was.
"The atomic bombs which that reactor was capable of producing whether from enriched uranium or from plutonium, would be of the Hiroshima size. Thus a mortal danger to the people of Israel progressively arose." – Israeli government statement explaining 1981 raid on Iraq nuclear plant.
Successive Israeli governments have stuck to the position that the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Middle Eastern nation would be a critical threat to its own existence.
Turkey, among other Middle Eastern and Central Asian nations, has accused Israel of being a regional bully using its own presumed nuclear capability as a stick with which to control its neighbors.
Israel is widely assumed to possess nuclear weapons, largely acquired from the U.S., but has never confirmed their existence.
Iran's increasingly obvious threats
Iran has consistently claimed its nuclear program is peaceful and that it has no intention of producing nuclear weapons.
Nevertheless, as international pressure increased, Tehran responded by hardening its own position, implying last week Iran might create an instant oil shortage in the West by blockading the Strait of Hormuz that is the primary route through which tankers travel from Saudi Arabia to the ports of Western oil importers.