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Olmert wins U.S. backing for Iran war

Source: Press TV

Israel's prime minister says Washington has not rejected a request by Tel Aviv to take any action it deems "necessary" against Iran.

Ehud Olmert, the outgoing premier, said Tuesday that he had extensively discussed Iran and its nuclear program with "Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the (US) president".

"There is a basic, deep understanding about the Iranian threat and the need to act in order to remove the threat," Olmert told reporters.

Israel insists that a nuclear Iran would pose an existential threat to Tel Aviv, claiming that Tehran has "plans to build a nuclear weapon."

Under the allegation, Israeli echelons and army brass have long argued that militarily taking out Iran's nuclear infrastructure is a legitimate option.

An earlier report by Time suggested that Washington had expressed its opposition to an Israeli military strike on Iran before President-elect Barack Obama takes office in January.

"We have been warned off," the American magazine quoted an Israeli Defense Ministry official as saying.

However, the outgoing Israeli premier dismissed the Time report.

"I don't remember that anyone in the administration, including in the last couple of days, advised me or any other of my official representatives not to take any action that we will deem necessary for the fundamental security of the state of Israel, and that includes Iran," said Olmert, who is forced to leave office following a corruption scandal.

On Sunday, in a leaked annual National Security Council assessment, Israeli army chiefs advocated a timely military strike on Iran before a "limited" window of opportunity is missed.

The intelligence assessment declared that Tel Aviv must draw up "contingency plans to attack Iran" even if it means courting a confrontation with Washington.

Earlier in July, Texas congressman Ron Paul warned that any Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear facilities would take place with the explicit backing of the US government.

The outspoken congressman told Press TV that, "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."

Olmert's remarks, meanwhile, suggested that should Israel involve in a military conflict with Iran, there would not be a quarrel between Tel Aviv officials and the Obama administration.

President-elect Obama has vowed to 'engage in aggressive personal diplomacy' with Iranian leaders to resolve the controversy surrounding the country's nuclear program.

Iranian officials insist that the country's nuclear activities are solely directed at the civilian applications of the technology, adding that under the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Tehran is entitled to uranium enrichment.

The UN agency responsible for investigating Iran's nuclear activities confirmed in its latest report that it has "been able to continue to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran."

... Payvand News - 11/26/08 ... --

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