Israel: Diplomacy working against Iran

By Aaron Klein

Contradicting a New York Times assessment that diplomatic efforts to halt Iran’s nuclear ambitions have accomplished nothing, senior Israeli security officials said yesterday they believed international diplomacy has achieved some success and should be continued.

The Israeli assessment, which was presented to Sharon’s security cabinet July 21, claims diplomatic pressure has delayed Iran’s progress toward nuclear weapons by about two years or until 2007. Previously, Israel said Iran would possess the ability to produce enriched uranium for nuclear weapons on its own in late 2005.

Israeli sources say the United States, Britain, France and Germany should be credited for their hard-line messages to the mullahs, but they also explain diplomatic pressure has recently been eased, partly because of the upcoming American elections and Iran’s “attempts to buy time.”

Meeting with European representatives just ten days ago in Paris, Iranian representatives demanded their right to enrich uranium.

Israel leaked to reporters that it completed military exercises for a pre-emptive strike against several of Iran’s nuclear power facilities. Israel said the strike on Iran’s reactors, should they go critical, would probably be carried out by long-range F-15I jets, flying over Turkey, with simultaneous operations by commandos on the ground.

F-15I jets in Israeli arsenal (photo:

Next month, the International Atomic Energy Agency’s board of governors is scheduled to hold another discussion on Iran, and the Americans are pressing for a decision to transfer the issue to the U.N. Security Council, which can impose sanctions.

Israeli sources said yesterday the New York Times report on the failure of diplomatic efforts was an attempt to pressure both the Bush administration and Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry to back stronger diplomatic pressure on Iran.

Bush has recently said he would help bring down the current Iranian regime. A senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the London Times Bush would provide assistance to Iran’s “hugely dissatisfied” population to help them revolt against the ruling theocracy.

Israel says Kerry is likely to seek further dialogue and international involvement in the U.S. relationship with Iran.

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