Friday, 11 November 2011

UK Foreign Official Predicts Israeli Attack on Iran in a Month

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Speculation over a potential Israeli attack on Iran has circulated via media reports and governmental agencies, and was heightened following the release of an IAEA report this week that portrayed Iran as a major nuclear threat. According to a United Kingdom foreign official, an attack on Iran by Israel could take place as early as next month.

A senior Foreign Office figure told the Daily Mail newspaper, “We’re expecting something as early as Christmas, or very early in the new year,” adding that Israel will attack Iran’s nuclear sites “sooner rather than later.”

Part of the reason for the rush is fear that Iran may be able to move the majority of its nuclear processing equipment underground.

According to that source, the United Kingdom will not get involved if Israel does indeed attack Iran’s nuclear sites because the UK officials do not believe Iran would ever use a nuclear bomb, even if they somehow came into possession of one.

“The bigger concern is it will be impossible to stop Saudi Arabia and Turkey from developing their own weapons,” added that source.

Paul Joseph Watson reports, “The revelation came one week after British chief of staff, Gen. Sir David Richards paid a secret visit to Israel which was followed the next day by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak visiting London for talks with British military chiefs.”

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The official’s predictions follow the release of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s report, which UK Foreign Secretary William Hague contends revealed significant findings that “completely discredited the Islamic Republic’s claims of innocence.”

The newly released IAEA document indicates that Iran is allegedly pursuing nuclear weapons. UPI writes:

A report by the International Atomic Energy Agency released Tuesday provided the strongest evidence yet that Iran is close to developing nuclear weapons, including clandestine procurement of equipment and design information needed to make nuclear arms, high explosives testing and detonator development to set off a nuclear charge, computer modeling of a core of a nuclear warhead, and preparatory work for a nuclear weapons test -- powerful evidence that refutes the regime's specious claims that its nuclear program is peaceful.

The report listed a number of findings, including the fact that Iranian scientists are attempting to mount a nuclear payload into their missiles that would allow them to reach Israel.

The IAEA shared the information in the report with the entire 35-nation IAEA board as well as the UN Security Council, and concluded in the report that while some of the nuclear work conducted by Iran can certainly be used for peaceful purposes, “others are specific to nuclear weapons.”

Not everyone agrees, however, that the report reveals any such “smoking gun.” According to the report, Iran has increased its level of uranium enrichment from 3.5 percent to just below 20 percent. Low-enriched uranium is considered acceptable by nuclear monitors, as that is the level needed for nuclear power reactors. Now that it has reached nearly 20 percent enrichment, however, some nations are considering this to be proof of an Iranian nuclear threat, even though weapons-grade uranium needs to be somewhere around 90 percent.

Whether the source is credible remains to be seen, but according to Watson, the Daily Mail has been widely acknowledged as a publication with close sources to British intelligence.

But some news outlets have dismissed the claims. YNet News writes, “The British publication cites unnamed London 'intelligence chiefs' as its source. The report has not been corroborated by any Israeli source, and its validity is considered questionable.”

The United States, France, and NATO have all seemingly backed away from the prospect of launching a military attack on Iran, but most contend it is unlikely Israel would have to do it alone. Hague told the Daily Mail that the United States will provide “logistical” support to Israel along the same lines as it did in Libya.

But Watson predicts that American involvement will eventually grow. “Even if the United States does not become embroiled in the military campaign from the outset, reprisal attacks by Iran and its offshoots will be used as the pretext for American involvement,” he writes.

DebkaFile made similar assertions. “Since this attack would almost certainly bring forth reprisals from Tehran and its allies, Syria, Hezbollah and the Palestinian Hamas and Jihad Islami, it would almost certainly expand into a wider Middle East conflict, thus also broadening US and West European military intervention."

Iran has already claimed that it would retaliate violently to such an attack and would not limit its actions to just its attacker. “Our enemies, particularly the Zionist regime [Israel], America and its allies, should know that any kind of threat and attack or even thinking about any military action will be firmly responded to,” declared Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iran has also threatened to launch a “street war” in Iran if attacked.

“Israel is not big enough to launch a military strike on Iran, but if it takes such a foolish decision, the Iranian military will fight with the Zionist soldiers in Tel Aviv streets … and will force them out of the Palestinian soil,” said Seyed Hossein Naqavi , head of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy.

Naqavi also declared that the street war will not be limited to Israel, but to the “entirety of Europe and the US” as well.

YNet News claims that it is in fact Britain that has been “accelerating preparations for a possible strike on Iran.” Similarly, the Daily Mail reports that Ministry of Defence sources “confirmed that continengency plans have been drawn up in the event that the UK decided to support military action.”

Daily Mail’s source adds, however, that the UK will not support military action though it is “not in favour of Iran developing a bomb.” That source indicates that the UK does not believe Iran will use the bomb.

Hague claims Britain would instead support more sanctions against Iran.

Meanwhile, the United States has not remarked on the findings of the IAEA report, but France has stated that it will support sanctions of “an unprecedented scale” if Iran refused to answer questions about the nuclear program.

China also has not yet responded to the findings, as it is believed to be waiting for a response from the United States and Russia before issuing its own statement.

Still, the Iranian President Mahmoud Admadinejad is standing firm: “If you think you can change the situation of the world through putting pressures on Iran, you are deadly wrong. The Iranian nation will not withdraw an iota.”

In remarks broadcast on state television, Ahmadinejad said that International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano was simply repeating U.S. allegations. “He delivers the papers that American officials hand [to] him,” he stated.

Ahmadinejad continued to assert that Iran does not intend to make nuclear weapons. “They should know that if we want to remove the hand of the U.S. from the world, we do not need bombs and hardware. We work based on thoughts, culture and logic.”