Israel feels alone after report on Iran

A U.S. intelligence assessment that Iran has stopped developing atomic weapons is putting a burden on the Jewish state, which has long relied on Washington to lead the international charge against Iran's nuclear ambitions.

With the U.S. now less likely to take military action, an increasingly nervous Israel might feel compelled to strike out on its own if it perceives a dangerous threat.

Israeli officials say their intelligence forces believe Iran is still working aggressively to build nuclear arms. The Islamic regime in Tehran is strongly opposed to Israel's existence and frequently boasts of its ability to strike the Jewish state with long-range missiles.

"The situation can become tense if they (the Israelis) decided their red line has been crossed," said David Albright, a former U.N. nuclear inspector who now heads the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security. "They may force a military confrontation."

A summary made public Monday of the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate on Iran concluded the Iranians suspended their attempt to build a nuclear weapon four years ago, leading to increased calls within the U.S. for a less confrontational approach to Tehran.

"This forces the Israelis to make a decision instead of being able to take some comfort that the U.S. would take action at some point," said Wayne White, former deputy director of the State Department's Middle East Intelligence Office.

"With Israel, you can be sure they will be unwilling to tolerate as much risk as the U.S. ... because they can get hit," he said.

Israel sees Iran as its greatest threat and maintains that country is aggressively pursuing a nuclear weapons program. It responded to the report with a mixture of skepticism and veiled irritation.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that despite Washington's assessment, his own intelligence analysis indicates Iran is still trying to develop a nuclear weapon.

"We cannot allow ourselves to rest just because of an intelligence report from the other side of the Earth, even if it is from our greatest friend," Barak said.

Meeting with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on Wednesday, Israeli President Shimon Peres said many intelligence assessments around the world have later turned out to have been inaccurate, a statement from his office said.

He did not refer specifically to the flawed 2002 U.S. intelligence estimate of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program.

Iran's military said last month it had produced a new missile with a range of 1,200 miles capable of reaching Israel and U.S. bases across the Mideast.

Peres, who as Defense Ministry director general in the 1960s spearheaded the development of Israel's own nuclear program, told Albright that Iran's heavy investment in missiles could only be intended to deliver a nuclear payload.

"There is absolutely no justification for developing such missiles and equipping them with a conventional warhead," he said.

Israel has never confirmed or denied possessing nuclear weapons, but it is widely believed to have a formidable atomic stockpile.

In 1981 Israeli warplanes penetrated deep into Iraq to destroy an unfinished nuclear reactor near Baghdad to prevent its use in a weapons program.

Israel has since taken delivery of about 80 aircraft fitted with long-range fuel tanks that would allow them to reach Iran, and it has acquired three German-built submarines reportedly capable of firing nuclear-armed missiles, with two more under construction.

Israel says it prefers a diplomatic resolution to the Iran nuclear issue, but has not ruled out taking military action itself if necessary. Israel lives with the memory of the Nazi Holocaust and has vowed never again to rely on anyone but itself to safeguard its people.

Iran funds Islamic groups like Hezbollah and Hamas, both openly dedicated to Israel's destruction, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said Israel should be "wiped off the map."

The mood in the Israeli military command after this week's U.S. assessment is one of isolation and disappointment, but nobody is talking about any imminent Israeli strike against Iran, defense officials said Wednesday. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the need not to appear at odds with U.S. policy.

Yossi Melman, veteran defense writer for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, said that if the U.S. view of Iran's nuclear status is correct, it actually reduces the threat to Israel and the likelihood of independent military action.

"If Iran is not heading for a nuclear weapon then you don't need a military option," he said, adding that for Israeli officials a strike was never a very likely choice.

" Israel's ability to carry out a military operation in Iran is limited," he said. "It's possible but limited."

Such a mission would be far more complex that the 1981 Iraq raid, experts say.

It would require heavy precision-guided bombs that can slice into underground bunkers, manned aircraft to bombard multiple targets and possibly commandos on the ground to make sure weapons materials are destroyed.

Melman said Israel's next step could be to redouble its own intelligence efforts in an attempt to prove its case, but that might antagonize the U.S. agencies.

"If Israel didn't have a smoking gun before, why should it find one now?" he said. "If they had the evidence they would have given it to the Americans and influenced their report." ( AP )

Russia's Rostelecom working on inter-operator cooperation with Turkmenistan
Russia's Rostelecom working on inter-operator cooperation with Turkmenistan
Russia increases ten-month value of chemical products import from Turkey
Russia increases ten-month value of chemical products import from Turkey
UAE, Afghanistan buy Turkmen-made gasoline
UAE, Afghanistan buy Turkmen-made gasoline
Loading Bars
Oil prices down 1% as OPEC+ debates 2021 output policy
Another Turkish vaccine ready for human trials
Georgian Finance Minister tests positive for COVID-19
Iran's stock exchange needs structural reforms - Iranian MP
Kyrgyzstan provides online courses for entrepreneurs in field of tourism
Number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Serbia up by over 6,224 in past day
Azerbaijani Defense Ministry thanks Turkey's Defense Ministry
Bitcoin hits record high after steep fall last week
Logistic support assets of Russian peacekeepers in Karabakh arrive in Azerbaijan (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Turkmenistan significantly increases cement imports from Turkey
Turkish sappers begin mine clearing in liberated territories of Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan extends learning from home amid ongoing anti-coronavirus measures
Azerbaijani FM, Moldovan minister exchange views on latest situation in region
Two more Italian municipalities express support to Azerbaijan
Iran's first VP invites Shanghai Cooperation Organization to invest in Chabahar Port
Expert talks short-term price decrease on Azerbaijan's car market
Kazakhstan sees increase in lending to legal entities over 10M2020
Employment in Iran's Razavi Khorasan Province soars
Azerbaijan raises export to Croatia
Iranian Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale December 1
Preventive diplomacy is integral part of Turkmenistan's neutrality - president of Turkmenistan
Azerbaijan to minimize plastic consumption
Kazakhstan to set up int'l center to develop oil&gas engineering in co-op with ENI, Shell
Georgian Walnuts company aims for eco-friendly production
President of Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan sends letter to president of Azerbaijan
Uzbekistan exporting plums mainly to Russia and Kazakhstan
Azerbaijan's Baku Metro to engage testing services through tender
Armenian PM's attempts to meet with Russian president fail
Iran can increase exports through processing industries – economist
Iran hopes to see Iran-Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce headquarters open in Kabul
GM, Nikola announce reworked, smaller deal focused on supplying fuel-cell systems
Georgia’s Innovation and Technology Agency discloses volume of startup projects
Turkmenistan's Turkmengas opens tender for purchase of chemical products
Uzbek textile products mostly imported by Russia
Uzbek currency rates for November 30
Trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Spain greatly improves
Azerbaijan increases value of year-on-year export to Kazakhstan
SecGen of Iraqi Council of Representatives sends letter to President Aliyev
Azerbaijan reports 2,981 new COVID-19 cases, 1,226 recoveries
Azerbaijani 'Barda' ferry ship repaired and put into operation
Argentine companies to cooperate with Azerbaijan’s Azexport website and Digital Shopping Hub
Uzbek Ministry of Finance forecasts increase of public debt
Swiss Investment Company to issue bonds in Uzbek national currency
Georgia purchases 10 new high flow oxygen generators from Turkey
Iran hopes for economic revival of Azerbaijan's Nagorno-Karabakh - Vice President Jahangiri
JCPOA to holding meeting in Vienna
Excise tax on import of commodity items to be abolished in Uzbekistan
Income from pine-cone exports up in Georgia
Azerbaijan reveals data on loans issued to farmers over 11M2020
YARAT Contemporary Art Space to present exhibition project "Make Island For Yourself" in Museum of Azerbaijani Painting
Amazon, Apple stay away from new French initiative to set principles for Big Tech
Georgia reveals volume of exported apples
Azerbaijan's ANAMA discloses total number of civilian casualties from mines
Development Bank of Kazakhstan eyeing support of mining, metallurgical projects
Khazar Consortium opens tender for purchase of tires in Turkmenistan
Georgia reveals top five insurance companies due to paid claims
Cemeteries destroyed, mosques used as cowsheds in Karabakh - renowned French photographer (PHOTOS)
Baku Transport Agency, ARIS LLC sign tender contract
Azerbaijani Prosecutor General's Office urges not to visit lands liberated from occupation (VIDEO)
STAR refinery's crude oil imports rise y-o-y
Azerbaijan Mortgage & Credit Guarantee Fund says will complete 2020 with profit
Russia's Rostelecom working on inter-operator cooperation with Turkmenistan
Capitalization remains strength of Georgian Basisbank
Hungarian TUNGSRAM GROUP to launch production of LED street lighting in Kazakhstan
Azerbaijani agency unveils number of munitions found since Sept.27
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin starts to rise
Azerbaijan to commission road connecting Tartar and Sugovushan in coming days - ANAMA (PHOTO)
Uzbek agro-industrial agency announces tender for well construction
Carlsberg Azerbaijan and AzərŞəkər signed a memorandum of cooperation (PHOTO)
S&P Global to buy IHS Markit in deal valued at $44 billion
Azerbaijan reveals number of civilians dead, following recent Armenian aggression
Uzbekistan slightly reduces import of Turkish-made chemicals
Demining of territory for future road to liberated Shusha kicked off - ANAMA
Creation of concept for audit development in Azerbaijan for 2021-2030 nearing completion
Iran's POMC launches its first compressor
Turkey continues to raise trade turnover with Azerbaijan
Ceyhan terminal’s oil transshipment from ACG nears 194 million barrels
Baku Metro switches to modern train control systems
Visits of citizens to liberated Azerbaijani territories still dangerous - ANAMA
Malaysia ready to assist in promotion of pilgrim tourism in Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan’s 10M2020 data on plastic cards revealed
Turkmenistan's natural gas reserves increased – Eni’s review
Time deposits value surges in Kazakhstan year-on-year
Iran's total rail transit up
Turkmenistan's oil reserves remain stable for several years – Eni’s review
Iran doubles budget for defense research projects
Georgia sees increase in hazelnuts export
Iran reveals its COVID-19 data for November 30
CNG can easily be used instead of gasoline in Iran
Chabahar - first Iranian port to attract foreign operators - PMO
Georgia decreases mobilizing funds in tax revenue
Russia increases ten-month value of chemical products import from Turkey
New apartments to be added to Azerbaijan's mortgage fund base
Number of enterprises put into operation in Iran's South Khorasan Province up
Georgia sees decrease in estimated real GDP
Dynamics of Azerbaijan’s oil production since 2000
Iran's Central Bank announces number of exchanged checks
Israel-Lebanon maritime border talks postponed, officials say
Azerbaijan to assign 'stars' to hotels given level of COVID-19 pandemic-related security
Cargo, passenger traffic via Turkish Adana Airport lowers in 10M2020
All news