Israel, U.S. discuss triggers for military strike on Iran
Haaretz— Israel and the U.S. are discussing “red lines” in Iran’s nuclear program, that if crossed would justify a preemptive strike on its nuclear facilities, the Daily Beast website reported on Wednesday.
According to the report, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren, filed an official complaint with the administration following a speech by U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta a few weeks ago, warning against a military strike on Iran.
The Daily Beast reported that Panetta’s statements infuriated the Israeli government, which ordered ambassador Oren to file the complaint. The White House then relayed a message to Israel saying the administration has its own “red lines” concerning a strike on Iran, and that Israel does not need to act unilaterally. Israel’s protest also resulted in Panetta reversing his stand in an interview with CBS, saying the U.S. will use any means necessary to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.
Patrick Clawson from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy said in the report that “If Iran were found to be sneaking out or breaking out then the president’s advisers are firmly persuaded he would authorize the use of military force to stop it.” However, he added that “we just don’t know how the president will react.”
The Daily Beast also reported that as part of the strategic dialogue between Israel and the U.S. that took place earlier this month, Israel presented new information about Iran’s efforts to build secret reactors for nuclear fuel production, and showed that these efforts were further along than the U.S. thought. Some of the intelligence was based on soil samples collected near the suspected sites.
Israel and the U.S. disagree about how far along Iran’s uranium enrichment program has developed, making it difficult for the two sides to formulate “red lines” concerning the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.