Satellite image of Iran’s nuclear facility in Natanz
JERUSALEM – A senior Palestinian intelligence official said that based on meetings with American diplomats he “understood” the U.S. plans to target Iran’s suspected nuclear installations in two to three months if negotiations with Tehran don’t generate a major breakthrough.
The official, speaking to WND yesterday on condition of anonymity, said according to what he “understood,” the U.S. will “pay” for Arab support for a U.S. strike against Iran by creating a temporary Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip and most of the West Bank by next summer.
The official met last week with U.S. secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during her trip here earlier this month to prepare for a U.S.-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian summit slated for next month in which Israel is expected to outline a future Palestinian state in most of the West Bank.
Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, in recent weeks hinted at willingness to give away sections of Jerusalem.
The Palestinian intelligence official would not say if he was basing his information on any specific statements by U.S. officials that a military operation against Iran was in the works.
“It’s based on what I understood from the Americans,” he told WND.
His statements come as the Bush administration today imposed a series of new sanctions on Iran, accusing the country of an illicit nuclear program and supporting terrorism throughout the Middle East.
The sanctions specifically single out the elite al-Quds division of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terror entity guilty of weapons proliferation and aiding terrorism, including attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq and aid to Palestinian terror groups and the Lebanese Hezbollah militia.
The U.S. has made it illegal to do business with the Guard, the most powerful arm of Iran’s fighting forces.
Rice yesterday announced the sanctions were part of “a comprehensive policy to confront the threatening behavior of the Iranians.”
She repeated twice in a prepared statement that Washington remained committed to a “diplomatic solution” rather than military action, but U.S. officials have told the media in recent weeks Bush has not taken the military option off the table.
Iran denies it is engaged in illicit nuclear activities or that it is seeking nuclear weapons.
The sanctions follow the resignation last week of chief Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani, a move widely interpreted as a hardening of Iran’s stance regarding U.S. and international negotiations.
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