Israel bites back at US over Iran talks
جمعه 11 مرداد 1387 | 18:05
Representatives from Iran and the G5+1 in Geneva
The White House has been informed of Tel Aviv's adamant opposition to the recent US participation in direct nuclear talks with Iran.
Israeli Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz has been lobbying top officials in Washington in objection to US exercising 'diplomacy' with the Islamic Republic.
"He (Mofaz) urged the Americans to set firm conditions, such as a refusal to allow the Iranians to enrich uranium on their turf," Reuters quoted Mofaz spokeswoman Talia Somech as saying on Friday.
She added that Mofaz took the opportunity to advise Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice against direct US-Iran talks, demanding that 'all options against Iran should not only be on table, but prepared'.
Israel, believed to be the possessor of the only nuclear arsenal in the Middle East, has ratcheted up its go-to-war rhetoric against Iran, threatening to unilaterally strike the country's nuclear sites if Tehran continues with uranium enrichment.
Former US presidential candidate Congressman Ron Paul says, however, that there is no 'such thing as independent Israel doing anything', dismissing speculation that the world may witness unilateral Israeli bombardments of Iranian nuclear sites.
"No matter what they do, it is our money, it is our weapons, and they are not going to do it without us approving it... If they (Israelis) get in trouble, we are going to bail them out," the 72-year-old Republican said regarding the influence of the Israeli lobby in the US.
Top US officials and military commanders, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, have also spoken against military action.
In a recent article, Gates said 'another war in the Middle East is the last thing' the United States needs right now. He warned that a war with Iran would be 'disastrous on a number of levels'.
When asked last week about the prospect of an Israeli or US attack, Admiral Mullen said that he worries about 'the possible unintended consequences of a strike' on Iran.
In early June, Mullen called for 'broad dialogue' with Tehran, complaining that Washington has not 'had much of a dialogue with the Iranians for a long time'.
The visit of the Israeli official comes after the Bush administration backed down on its previous position not to talk with Iran until it suspended its nuclear activities.
"It sends a strong signal to the world; it sends a strong signal to the Iranian government that the United States is committed to diplomacy, to finding a diplomatic solution to this issue," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack claimed July 16, three days before nuclear talks with Iran in Geneva.
During the Geneva talks mediated by EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, a package of incentives drawn up by the G5+1 requiring a suspension in Iranian nuclear work in return for political and economic benefits was discussed.
Despite being dubbed by various US officials as a 'U-turn' in policy, Washington's move in sending a senior diplomat, Undersecretary of State William Burns, to nuclear talks with Iran for the first time was said to be a 'one-time' offer limited to 'listening' rather than 'contributing'.
Iran has nevertheless described the move as positive due to Washington's retreat from its previous position.
The West accuses Iran of making efforts to develop nuclear arms. Tehran, however, insists that its enrichment activities are aimed at electricity generation and further peaceful applications of nuclear technology.
The most recent UN nuclear watchdog report, however, concluded that there is no link between the use of nuclear material and the 'alleged studies' of weaponization attributed to Iran.
As the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) acknowledges the rights of all signatory states in uranium enrichment for peaceful purposes, Iran has cited diplomacy as the only means acceptable in settling the dispute surrounding its nuclear program.
In the latest development regarding Iran's nuclear case, the 118-member Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) declared its support for Tehran over its enrichment activities.