Israeli newspapers are reporting today that Iran has intensified its development of a nuclear device. It has been noted previously that Iran is committed to the complete destruction of Israel.
The report, attributed to an unnamed Israeli official and leaked U.S. intelligence sources, could amplify the current Israeli debate about whether to go to war against Iran – and when – over its disputed nuclear weapons projects.
News reports in the conservative, pro-government Israel Hayom, and in the liberal Haaretz, a frequent Netanyahu critic, Citing an unnamed senior Israeli official, said a new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) compiled by the Obama administration included a “last-minute update” about significant Iranian progress in the development of a nuclear warhead “far beyond the scope known” to U.N. inspectors.
Israel feels it can no longer rely on a U.S. president, be it Obama or Romney, to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. The unnamed Israeli official also said “If we wait until next spring, Iran will have enough enriched uranium to produce its first nuclear weapon.”
Doing so would defy appeals by U.S. President Barack Obama, seeking re-election in November, to allow more time for international diplomacy. Tehran says its nuclear ambitions are peaceful and has threatened wide-ranging reprisals if attacked.
If Israel cannot count on either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney to block Iran’s drive for a nuclear arsenal, it’s game over for the Israeli’s. It would be just a matter of time before Iran used these weapons, and he only rational option for Israel is to carry out an air strike on Iran’s nuclear weapons sites.
These reports indicating that Iran has made “significant nuclear progress in the past four months” have engendered a compelling argument from the Israeli people, for an immediate response from the Israeli military.
The U.S. intelligence community has conveyed its latest assessment to the White House. On this score, the unnamed Israeli official said that the Israeli Defense Ministry and senior officials in the U.S. had reached a “similar interpretation” in regards to Tehran’s push for the A-Bomb.
However the two countries differed on what to do about it. President Obama is still sticking to the sanctions and nuclear talks with Iran. But it can be said that Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak reject the notion that sanctions will ever do the trick. From their vantage point, the four major players, Russia, China, India and Turkey have gutted any chance for the sanctions to succeed. In effect, Obama and the Iranians have a common interest in playing for time until after the November presidential election.
Neither daily newspaper provided direct quotes or detailed evidence. For Haaretz, it was the second report since Thursday purporting to draw on a new NIE.
Israeli government spokesmen had no immediate comment. Asked about the reports in an Israel Radio interview, Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauser suggested they be taken at face value.
“There is too much attribution of manipulation, which does not exist, to this or that official,” Hauser said. “There are a great many things that are just as they are, for better or worse.”
Washington has not commented on whether such an NIE exists. But its officials say the U.S. intelligence assessment remains that the Islamic republic is undecided on whether to build a bomb and is years away from any such nuclear capability.