Israel to brief George Bush on options for Iran strike

Israel to brief George Bush on options for Iran strike

Times Online
January 6, 2008

ISRAELI security officials are to brief President George W Bush on their latest intelligence about Iran’s nuclear programme – and how it could be destroyed – when he begins a tour of the Middle East in Jerusalem this week.

Ehud Barak, the defence minister, is said to want to convince him that an Israeli military strike against uranium enrichment facilities in Iran would be feasible if diplomatic efforts failed to halt nuclear operations. A range of military options has been prepared.

Last month it was revealed that the US National Intelligence Estimate report, drawing together information from 16 agencies, had concluded that Iran stopped a secret nuclear weapon programme in 2003.

Israeli intelligence is understood to agree that the project was halted around the time of America’s invasion of Iraq, but has “rock solid” information that it has since started up again.

While security officials are reluctant to reveal all their intelligence, fearing that leaks could jeopardise the element of surprise in any future attack, they are expected to present the president with fresh details of Iran’s enrichment of uranium – which could be used for civil or military purposes – and the development of missiles that could carry nuclear warheads.

In an interview with the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot this weekend, Bush argued that in spite of the US intelligence assessment, Iran still posed a threat.

“I read the intelligence report carefully,” Bush said. “In essence, what the report said was that Iran had a secret plan to develop nuclear weapons.

“I’m saying that a state which adopted a nontransparent policy and had a secret plan for developing nuclear weapons could easily develop an alternative plan for the same purpose. So to conclude from the intelligence report that there is no Iranian plan to develop nuclear weapons will be only a partial truth.”

Israeli security officials believe the only way to prevent uranium enrichment to military grade is to destroy Iranian installations. Many Israelis are eager to know whether America would give their country the green light to attack, as it did last September when Israel struck a mysterious nuclear site in Syria.

Bush refused to be drawn when asked whether he would support an Israeli attack. “My message to all countries in the region is that we are able to solve the problem in a diplomatic way,” he said, “but all options are on the table.”


Bush keeps Iran war ‘on table’

Press TV
January 5, 2008

The US President says a military option is on the table to halt Iran’s nuclear program but the issue should be solved ‘diplomatically’.

The best way to deal with Iranian nuclear crisis is to solve it ‘diplomatically’ and by exerting economic pressures, Bush said ahead of his nine-day trip to Middle East countries.

He added Washington, however, keeps all options on the table including a military attack to prevent Iran from what he called ‘building nuclear weapons’.

“We can solve this diplomatically, and that pressure must work. Of course, the US keeps all options on the table as part of its policy. But the best solution is to encourage Iranian isolation through international pressures,” Bush told Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot.

“We expect companies from around the world to place significant pressure on Iranian financial institutions, particularly those that are known to be involved in [nuclear] proliferation,” the President said.

“…The international response ought to be that, okay, whether or not you agree with the NIE (National Intelligence Estimate) that they (Iran) had a (nuclear) program at one point of time,” he said.

The remarks came while the recent intelligence report compiled by 16 US spy agencies has confirmed the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program.

After the release of the NIE, many politicians and analysts concluded that the Bush administration is accusing Iran of running a nuclear weapons program to wag another war in the region to take control of the Middle East energy resources.

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