Israel uses ‘imminent’ attack threat to toughen sanctions on Iran

Israel uses ‘imminent’ attack threat to toughen sanctions on Iran

Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov. 3 /Trend T.Konyayeva/

Israel's statements on a military attack on Iran's nuclear facilities can be either an attempt to increase pressure on Tehran, or just a target to mislead the international community, experts believe.

"The main goal of the recent outburst of declarations is to pressure the international community to impose tougher sanctions against Iran following the coming IAEA meeting," Meir Litvak, professor at the M.Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel-Aviv University, wrote Trend in an email. "Israel wants to send a signal to the West: do something against Iran, so that we will not have to attack it. It is a well known tactic."

Some Israeli media reports earlier this week quoted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak as warning that a military strike on Iran was an option.

According to the Haaretz daily, Netanyahu is now lobbying Cabinet members for an attack. Thus, Netanyahu recently persuaded Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who previously objected to attacking Iran, to support such a move.

The Israeli top officials' statements came on the eve of publication of the IAEA report, which is expected detail the possible military dimensions of Iran's nuclear program.

Shortly after the statements, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday that Israel has successfully test-fired a missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and striking Iran.

However, Litvak rules out direct links of the missile launching to the recent renewed talks about an attack on Iran. "Since such things are planned months in advance," he said.

"It is true, however, that the Israeli government could have postponed the exercise had they wanted to lower the tension with Iran. In other words, the launch was planned long ago, but now it serves the interests of the Israeli politicians," he noted.

Litvak believes that Washington sent a clear message to Tel-Aviv declaring that the U.S. is against an Israeli attack and that Israel will stand alone if it attacks Iran.

"Moreover, the Americans can tell the Israeli leaders that if they want an American support on certain Palestinian issues, e.g. acceptance to the UN, Israel should not act against Iran without U.S. approval," he said.

Former IRGC Commander Esmail Kosari regarded the recent Israeli statements as a "bluff".

"The Israeli military forces are disappointed, since they have lost battles with Hezbollah and HAMAS," Kosari, member of the Iranian Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, told Trend by phone. "Their morale is destroyed to start a new war. They know clearly that Iran's response to any attack would be very harsh and fierce. Iranian people together with the country's military forces are ready to unpredictable response to enemies."

In a response to a new missile test and a strike debate in Israel Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said Iran is fully prepared for war, the Hurriyet Daily News reported on Wednesday.

"Iran has always been threatened by Israel. This is not new for us. [...]," Salehi said. "We are very confident of ourselves. We can defend our country."

The Haaretz published today a new Haaretz-Dialog polling report showing that Israelis are almost evenly split on whether Israel should attack Iran's nuclear facilities, with 41 percent supporting such a strike and 39 percent opposed. The remaining 20 percent said they were undecided. The poll has reportedly queried both Jewish and Arab respondents.

D.Khatinoglu contributed to the article.

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