Israel revives military option after Obama rejects its nuclear demands of Iran (DEBKAfile) Exclusive Report 05/24/11
Israel has withdrawn its pledge to US President Barack Obama not to
strike Iranís nuclear sites before the November presidential election
after he rejected its minimal demands for nuclear negotiations with
Iran. This is reported exclusively by DEBKAfileís Washington sources.
In public, Israeli ministers still talk as though they believe in
results from the Six-Power talks with Iran, which Thursday May 24
limped into their second day in Baghdad with the parties still miles
apart. But the presidential veto has essentially cast Israel outside
the loop of influence on the outcome of diplomacy.
When Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak met US Defense Secretary
Leon Panetta at the Pentagon on May 17 he was told that Obama had
rejected Israelís toned-down demands for Iran to at least to halt
high-grade uranium enrichment, export its stocks of material enriched
higher than 3.5 percent grade and shut down production at the Fordo
nuclear plant near Qom. For six months, the Obama administration
tried to sweeten the bitter pill of this rejection by bumping up
security aid. The latest appropriation covered another $70 million
for manufacturing more Iron Dome short-range missile interceptors.
After talking to Panetta, Barak turned to Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton and National Security Adviser Tom Donilon in the hope of
winning their support for softening Obamaís ruling. Clinton replied
she was not involved in the negotiations with Iran and Donilon, that
a personal decision by the president was not open to change.
A week of consultations followed the defense ministerís return home,
during which it was decided to tear up Israelís pledge to refrain
from attacking Iran during the US presidential campaign. Wednesday,
May 23, the day the Baghdad talks began, Barak signaled Washington to
It was conveyed in a little-noticed early morning radio interview
with the defense minister. To make sure his words reached the proper
address without misunderstandings, the defense ministerís office
issued a verbatim English translation from the Hebrew:
"There is no need to tell us what to do, and we have no reason to
panic. Israel is very, very strong, but we do know that the Iranians
are accomplished chess players and will try to achieve nuclear
capabilities. Our position has not changed. The world must stop Iran
from becoming nuclear. All options remain on the table."
As the Baghdad talks went around in circles, Israelís military option
was put back firmly on the table and on the US-Iranian chessboard.
(Copyright 2000-2012 DEBKAfile. 05/24/12)
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