Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh's comment has sparked off a war of words between Tehran and Tel Aviv. He suggested the idea of launching a military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities as a last resort from preventing Tehran from acquiring nuclear capabilities. He made these comments while talking to The Jerusalem Post.
His comments brought angry responses from Tehran. Irani Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammed Ali Hosseini said: "If the Zionist regime commits such stupidity, the response by the Iranian military will be swift, strong and crushing." The Israeli government is trying to underplay his comments. Government spokeswoman Miri Eisin said Sneh's comments did not necessarily reflect the view of the government or Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Israel has been gripped with hysteria since Iranian President made that obnoxious comment that Israel should be wiped off from the map and questioned the truth of the Holocaust. He repeatedly called for the destruction of the Jewish state. These threats compelled Israel to consider Iran to be the greatest threat to its survival.
This is not the first time Israeli officials have threatened to destroy Iranian nuclear installation. The question is whether Israel has the ability to carry out such a raid, which, unlike Iraq's in 1981, are scattered among installations, some of them hidden underground.
How can Israel officials contemplate and say such things, when the White House is balking at taking military action after warnings from Pentagon and intelligence analysts. They are of the opinion that they cannot stop Iran from acquiring components for a nuclear bomb.
John Negroponte, director of national intelligence, has told President George W. Bush that there is no rush to use force as Iran's nuclear programme is beset with technical errors. He has been saying, it's not an immediate problem
Do Israeli leaders realize the repercussions of attack on Iranian installations? This military action against Iran will prove to be a disaster. Iran has the world's second biggest proven oil reserves after Saudi Arabia and the second biggest gas reserves after Russia. Iran is currently OPEC's second largest producer. Iran’s geo-strategic position and its already-existing network of pipelines also make it a key actor in the energy world. The sky-rocketing price of oil has put a lot of money into its pocket.
Iran has the power and means to stop the world's oil supply. Oil and gas from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Iraq, which constitutes 40 percent of the world's crude oil pass through the Straits of Hormuz, which is a stretch of ocean at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. Iranians have already made their intentions clear that they would cut off tanker traffic if the U.N. imposes sanction on them because of their nuclear programme. Iran has the potential power to create economic panic around the world.
In addition, Iranian can destabilize the Middle East, because they have good working relationship with Hezbollah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad movements. The recent war in Lebanon has clearly proved how deadly these movements can prove.
General John Abizaid, commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, has warned that striking Iran could cripple oil supplies, unleash a surrogate terrorist army, and lead to missile attacks on America's regional allies. The army is particularly concerned about Iran's ability to destabilize an already chaotic Iraq.
Iranians don't make empty rhetoric. They carry out their threats. They raided and occupied a Rumanian-owned oil platform in August because of a dispute over ownership rights. Analysts say the real aim of the action was to convey to western companies including Halliburton, who is in power there.
Sanctions cannot be imposed upon Iran, because of the economic interests of France, Russia, and China, who are three permanent members of the Security Council. Russia is building Iran's first, $800 million (#640 million) atomic reactor and has impeded U.N. sanctions against Tehran. It has also agreed to resume shipment of fuel for the reactor, which experts say could be diverted and used to build bombs. French President Mr. Chirac said he believes fruitful dialogue with Iran is still possible.
He called Iran "a great nation." His comments may reflect a growing belief among European leaders that persuading Iran to drop its troublesome nuclear ambitions can realistically be done only by staying on good terms with Iran, not by hostile pressure or threats.
What then can be done in the face of the mullahs’ implacable drive to acquire nuclear weapons? Senator Joseph Biden, insists that we have at least ten years before we have to worry about Iran's getting a working bomb. According to Ashton Carter, who served as an assistant secretary of defense in the Clinton administration, we at least have enough time to explore every possible diplomatic avenue before contemplating any direct military response.
Israel should take hint from these major players and try to improve her relationship with its neighbors. If it tries to do the dirty work for the U.S., it will bring miseries for her people and hurt interests abroad.