The president, in his State of the Union address last Tuesday, mentioned rogue Iran’s ongoing nuclear threat to Israel and to the free world. He said the world is unified behind a clear need to stop nuclear proliferation; that the world backs severe sanctions, and that no option is off the table. The president, as do many of the Republican candidates and many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, considers war and a preemptive strike on Iran as absolutely possible. The president went on to say that peace, however, is preferable.
On Thursday, at the 12th annual Herzliya Conference in that Israeli city, Defense Minister Ehud Barak made the point that if economic sanctions don’t halt the Iranian threat, the world is increasingly ready to consider a military strike. The Associated Press and other sources report Israeli officials’ assertions that Iran has produced sufficient enriched uranium to build four rudimentary nuclear bombs, and that Iran is developing missiles capable of reaching the United States.
On Friday, Defense Minister Barak echoed the sentiments of the president, saying, “Today, unlike in the past, there is a broad global understanding that it is crucial to stop Iran becoming nuclearized and that no options should be taken off the table.” He said that to allow Iran to continue on its present course would be dangerous in blood and money.
Vice Premier Moshe Yaalon, head of Israel’s strategic affairs ministry, declared that all of Iran’s nuclear installations were vulnerable to military strikes. This contradicts the view of foreign experts that in fact strikes against Iran would be difficult; many of the most crucial targets in Iran are hidden dozens of yards beneath the ground.
The supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, responded to the sabre rattling during a Friday prayer meeting in Tehran, “You see every now and then in this way they say that all options are on the table. That means even the option of war. This is how they make these threats against us. Well, these kinds of threats are detrimental to the U.S; the war itself will be 10 times as detrimental to the U.S,” Khamenei said.”The Zionist regime is really the cancerous tumor of this region and it needs to be removed and will be removed,” he added. Khamenei also declared that Iran will support any nation or group that fights against Israel.
The United States has concerns with Israeli urgency, feeling that confrontation could put additional nuclear weapons within the reach of Iran. Moreover, an Israeli strike would produce serious economic consequences, and precipitate catastrophic security issues worldwide. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has conceded concern with Israel’s consideration of surprise attack, “Israel has indicated they’re considering this, and we have indicated our concerns,” Panetta told reporters following a NATO meeting in Brussels on Thursday.