US President Barack Obama
Photo: EPA
US denies leaking info on Israeli access to Azeri airbases
White House source tells Ynet DC had nothing to do with leaking information alleging Baku granted IAF access to its airbases in case of strike on Iran

WASHINGTON – A top White House official denied Saturday that the US Administration was responsible for leaking information, alleging that Israel has secured access to airfields in Azerbaijan ahead of a possible strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, to the press.


On Thursday, Foreign Policy Magazine reported that Baku had granted Jerusalem permission to use four abandoned, Soviet-era airbases, where IAF fighter jets could refuel in case of a strike against the Islamic Republic.


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The sources said that the White House had "no interest" in leaks of this kind, adding that the administration would "gladly prosecute" the people behind it – if they knew who they were.


Israel, as well as pro-Israel elements in the United States, blamed the White House for the leak, but according to the official, the US is "crawling with thousands of intelligence and former intelligence officials," and the White House has no way of stopping them from offering information to the media as anonymous sources.


מפת הכורים הגרעיניים באיראן. גבול אזרבייג'אן מצפון-מערב

A map of Iran's nuclear facilities


The official stressed that it was wrong to claim that there was a concentrated media effort within the administration against Israel.


Jerusalem and Washington, he added, are making "tremendous efforts" on Iran and are working more closely than ever. "Leaks on strategic matters are never good," he said.


The white house stressed that US President Barack Obama's stance on Iran has been made clear in his interview with Atlantic Magazine and his AIPAC address, in which he made clear that as far as the US was concerned, a "nuclear Iran is not an option."


Meanwhile, the US tightened oil sanctions on Iran: The Obama Administration believes that the world's oil markets can be "adequately supplied" even if a significant portion of Iran's daily exports of 2.2 million barrels would become unavailable.


"There is a sufficient supply of petroleum and petroleum products from countries other than Iran to permit a significant reduction in the volume of petroleum and petroleum products purchased from Iran by or through foreign financial institutions," Obama said in a statement.



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First published: 31.03.12, 18:23
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