Israeli Officials Ramp Up Volume on Threats Against Iran

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
March 24, 2014, 10:57 a.m.

Is­raeli of­fi­cials in­creas­ingly are hint­ing that their coun­try could act alone to at­tack Ir­an’s atom­ic sites, the As­so­ci­ated Press re­ports.

Re­cent state­ments by seni­or Is­raeli politi­cians have raised the pro­file of their na­tion’s long­stand­ing threat to strike Ir­a­ni­an nuc­le­ar in­stall­a­tions, and could sig­nal frus­tra­tion in Is­rael with a mul­ti­lat­er­al dia­logue on Tehran’s nuc­le­ar pro­gram, the news agency re­por­ted on Fri­day. Is­rael, the United States and sev­er­al European coun­tries sus­pect that Ir­an’s atom­ic activ­it­ies could be dir­ec­ted to­ward arms de­vel­op­ment, a con­ten­tion Tehran has denied.

Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Net­an­yahu ordered his na­tion’s armed forces to main­tain read­i­ness in 2014 to po­ten­tially take ac­tion against Ir­an’s atom­ic fa­cil­it­ies, ac­cord­ing to a Thursday news art­icle in Haaretz. The policy re­portedly is slated to cost Is­rael roughly $2.9 bil­lion this year.

Sep­ar­ately, De­fense Min­is­ter Moshe Yaalon last week sug­ges­ted that Wash­ing­ton’s pur­suit of ne­go­ti­ations may prompt Is­rael to act uni­lat­er­ally against Ir­an.

Also last week, Is­raeli Gen­er­al Staff head Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz stressed that Ir­an “is not in an area that is out of the [Is­raeli] mil­it­ary’s range.”

Ac­cord­ing to former Is­raeli Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Ad­viser Yaakov Amidror, such state­ments are not bluffs.

“We aren’t play­ing a game of neigh­bor­hood bully. This is a stated policy of the state of Is­rael and has been made clear … to any­one who meets Is­rael’s rep­res­ent­at­ives,” Amidror said.

In­ter­na­tion­ally, Is­rael’s threats have largely fallen on deaf ears in the wake of a Novem­ber nuc­le­ar ac­cord between Ir­an and six world powers, ac­cord­ing to AP. Ir­an ac­cep­ted cer­tain atom­ic re­stric­tions in ex­change for curbs on eco­nom­ic sanc­tions un­der the six-month deal, which was in­ten­ded to lay the ground­work for a fu­ture long-term plan ad­dress­ing fears about Tehran’s nuc­le­ar am­bi­tions.

Any Is­raeli mil­it­ary strike on Ir­an would prob­ably scuttle the talks and prompt an armed back­lash, but it is un­clear how much dam­age Is­rael could in­de­pend­ently in­flict on its re­gion­al rival, the news agency said.

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