Israel is seriously considering taking unilateral military action to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, according to a report by top US political figures and experts released Wednesday.
The report also says Israel’s time frame for action is growing shorter, not only because of Iranian advances, but because Teheran might soon acquire upgraded air defenses and disperse its nuclear program to additional locations.
The report, “Preventing a Cascade of Instability,” was put out by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP). It also argues that international sanctions against Iran need to be intensified urgently for the engagement the Obama administration is planning with Teheran to be effective.
An early draft of the report was endorsed by Dennis Ross before he withdrew upon joining the Obama administration, in which he is serving as a special adviser dealing with various countries in the region, including Iran. Senator Evan Bayh of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and Congressman Gary Ackerman, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on the Middle East, were among the signatories.
From the Washington Post:
Iranian leaders said Wednesday that President Obama follows the “crooked ways” of his predecessor, repeated earlier warnings that Iranian missiles could reach Israel and reiterated that the Holocaust was “a lie.”
Iran’s president and other officials have at times appeared to welcome Obama’s proposal for greater dialogue, but the remarks Wednesday suggested that Iranian positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and other issues would pose obstacles. The comments were also a reminder that Iran’s complex leadership structure brings together clerics and political leaders with views that sometimes differ sharply.
In his first public comments on the new U.S. administration, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is Iran’s supreme leader and has the final say over foreign policy, said Obama had adopted former president George W. Bush’s support for Israel, which Khamenei called a “cancerous tumor.”