Nuclear facility in Natanz
Photo: AP

Report: Israel, US discuss Iran strike triggers

Daily Beast website says that after Israel filed official complaint over Panetta's remark that attack on Iran could 'consume Mideast,' Washington assured Jerusalem it would attack if Tehran's nuke program crosses certain 'red lines'

The Obama administration has assured Israel privately that the US would strike Iran if its nuclear program cross certain "red lines," The Daily Beast reported Wednesday, adding that at the same time Washington was trying to convince Israel not to attack Tehran unilaterally.


According to the report, the "Israelis went ballistic" after US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said earlier this month that an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities could “consume the Middle East in a confrontation and a conflict that we would regret."


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Israeli Ambassador to Washington Michael Oren lodged a formal diplomatic protest, prompting the White House to reassure Jerusalem that the administration had its own "red lines" that would trigger a strike on Iran and that there is no need for Israel to operate unilaterally, the American news website reported.


The Daily Beast said three senior US military officials have confirmed that analysts in the Pentagon were trying to predict which developments in Iran could lead to a preemptive Israeli strike on the Islamic Republic's nuclear facilities.


Iranian nuclear site (archives)


The report said that despite repeated requests going back to 2009, Netanyahu's government has not agreed to ask the US for permission or give significant advanced warning of any pending strike.


Shortly after the Israeli ambassador lodged a complaint over Panetta's remarks, the American defense secretary told CBS's "60 Minutes" that should Iran proceed with developing a nuclear weapon "then we will take whatever steps necessary to stop it."


According to The Daily Beast, Matthew Kroenig, who served as special adviser on Iran to the Office of the Secretary of Defense between July 2010 and July 2011, offered some of the possible "red lines" for a military strike on Iran. In a recent Foreign Affairs article he argued that the US should strike Iran’s facilities "if Iran expels international nuclear weapons inspectors, begins enriching its stockpiles of uranium to weapons-grade levels of 90%, or installs advanced centrifuges at its main uranium-enrichment facility in Qom."


In an interview with The Daily Beast, Kroenig also mentioned that the Islamic Republic announced in 2009 that it was set to construct 10 new uranium enrichment sites. "I doubt they are building 10 new sites, but I would be surprised if Iran was not racing to build some secret enrichment facilities," Kroenig told The Daily Beast.


"Progress on new facilities would be a major factor in our assessment of Iran’s nuclear program and shape all aspects of our policy towards this including the decision to use force," he said.




פרסום ראשון: 12.28.11, 17:05
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