Western leaders continue to advise Israel against launching a pre-emptive military strike on Iran to destroy the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.
The latest senior official to warn Israel is French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, who wants Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to be fully cognizant of the grave consequences of such military action against Tehran.
“Israel must be aware of [the] danger behind [an] Iran strike,” Juppe said, according to Reuters.
“It's our responsibility to bring to Israel's attention the unforeseeable consequences [such a strike] would have.”
Juppe’s stand would seem to contradict the more belligerent tone that French President Nicolas Sarkozy has taken with respect to the Iranians.
But Juppe also expressed his doubts that renewed nuclear negotiations between Iran and six world powers would accomplish anything. Catherine Ashton, the top foreign policy official at the European Union, has accepted an offer from Tehran to enter into nuclear talks on behalf of the U.S., Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany.
I am a little skeptical. I think Iran continues to be two-faced, Juppe told France's i-Tele television.
That's why I think we have to continue to be extremely firm on sanctions, which in my view are the best way to prevent a military option that would have unforeseeable consequences.”
Israel has also welcomed the possibility of the EU’s renewed discussions with Iran, although they, too, are gravely skeptical about Tehran’s true intentions.
Netanyahu, who has returned to Israel after meeting with foreign leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington, apparently refuses to scale down his angry rhetoric against Iran.
According to a report in the Jerusalem Post, the Israeli prime minister asked U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to approve the sale of advanced refueling aircraft and GBU-28 bunker-busting bombs to Israel – equipment and weaponry that would likely be used in a military strike on Iran.
The paper reported that Obama specifically instructed Panetta to work closely with his Israeli counterpart, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, on the proposed deal – strongly suggesting that the White House favors such a transaction.
The Post noted that former U.S. President George W. Bush refused to sell such items to Israel, fearing they would be used against Iran.