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February 3, 2012 3:04 pm

American and Israeli Officials Monitoring Iran and Each Other

avatar by Zachary Lichaa

Israeli PM Bejnamin Netanyahu (left) with President Obama (right). Photo: wiki commons.

Washington and Jerusalem were anything but quiet this week about the possibility of an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.  Israel’s defense minister was clear that as days and weeks pass, the ability to deter Iran’s nuclear ambitions becomes harder, as the Islamic Republic’s facilities move underground at a rapid rate.

Within the U.S. administration, David Ignatius of the Washington Post reported that Leon Panetta – U.S. Secretary of Defense and former Director of the CIA – believes an Israeli strike is coming before June, due to the concerns Defense Minister Barak expressed.  Following Ignatius’s report, Panetta declined to deny it’s content, saying his thoughts on the matter would remain private.

All of this comes during the same week that reports surfaced indicating Israeli officials warned their American counterparts that Iran is making concrete strides in developing a long range missile capable of striking well beyond Israeli territory, including New York City.

“Iran’s ‘Sputnik’ like satellite launch means that they have the missile capacity to possibly deliver a nuclear payload to targets beyond Israel. Still, this missile is liquid-fueled which makes it vulnerable. According to a former IDF Chief of Staff, the explosion that killed many Iranian rocket scientists and the top honcho Hassan Mukaddam two months ago, occurred during the test of a solid-fueled rocket motor which would give Iran the real striking capability,” a source within the Israeli government told The Algemeiner.  For security reasons, anonymity was requested.

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This source says that Israel’s concern about  passing a threshold in which Iran’s nuclear program becomes immune to foreign intervention is real.  He added that President Obama’s response to an Israeli strike and the aftermath that would follow, is no doubt on the minds of Israeli government officials.

“It’s true that Jerusalem hates the possibility that Iranian program will pass the level of Israeli conventional capabilities and from this point on Israel’s future will be in Obama’s hands.”

Some have noted that in the past, when Israel decides to launch a large scale operation outside it’s borders, including the 2007 strike on Syria’s nuclear facility and the 1981 hit on Iraq’s nuclear reactor, it usually isn’t discussing the execution of it publicly.

“Israeli tough talk is pretty much the only weapon Obama has in pushing Europe to sanctions. From the Israeli point of view there’s no downside in creating an atmosphere of threats. Either Western powers will apply more sanctions, or Iranians will panic and do something really stupid, in any case Israel wins,” the Israeli government adviser said.

The development of a nuclear weapon by Iran also worries Canada, with Foreign Minister John Baird telling Israel Hayom on Friday “It’s very easy to put one and one together. I believe Iran will use these weapons.”

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