Israel, US in secret talks over Iran - Minister
Israel and the United States are holding secret talks on setting a deadline for stopping Iran's nuclear programme, Israelid Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said Thursday, dpa reported.
"It is desirable that this whole issue of red lines will be set, but not publicly. At present out contacts with the Americans - which are excellent - are focusing on this subject," he told Israel Radio.
Ayalon said that although US President Barack Obama had not set any so-called "red lines" in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, the fact that he specifically warned against allowing Iran to have nuclear weapons was "very important."
Israel regards Iran's suspected nuclear weapons drive as an existential threat, based on remarks by Iranian leaders that the Jewish state should be wiped off the map.
Speculation has mounted in recent weeks that Israel may launch a military strike against Iran, but the US and the rest of the world oppose any unilateral Israel action.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has recently said that the imposition of red lines for Iran could help prevent a conflict. However, the US has publicly said it will not impose such a deadline.
Netanyahu was due to address the General Assembly later Thursday, with Iran expected to be the focus of his remarks.
The Jerusalem Post daily reported that the Israeli leader planned to go further than he has in the past by spelling out the perceived dangers posed by a nuclear Iran, and what needs to be done to stop the Islamic Republic, including stepping up sanctions.
Iran denies its nuclear programme has a military end and says it is for civilian purposes only.
Edited by: S. Isayev