Top US politicians have reportedly said that Israel is seriously considering taking unilateral military action against Iran.
As the dispute over Iran's nuclear program heats up, top US advisors and experts on Middle East affairs, released a report on Wednesday, saying "Israel's time frame for action (against Iran) is growing shorter."
The experts at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) said Israel feels an urgent need to take action against what it called "Iran's advancement in acquiring nuclear weapons."
In the article: "Preventing a Cascade of Instability," the bipartisan group reiterated that the Israeli officials were alarmed that "Tehran might soon acquire upgraded air defenses and disperse its nuclear program to additional locations."
Several authors of the report however have met with high-level Israeli officials to evaluate their perspective, and noted that Israel is not interested in becoming part of an "American nuclear umbrella".
"A declared US guarantee would clarify a situation of ambiguity that may already work to Israel's advantage," the report noted. Also, "many Israelis fear that a declared US guarantee could come at the price of circumscribing Israel's freedom of action in confronting existential dangers."
This is while former US ambassador to the United Nations Nancy Soderberg, noted that the timetable for an Israeli attack might be "significantly" moved up if Tel Aviv was under the impression that Russia was going to supply Iran with the S-300 surface-to-air missile system which would get in the way of any Israeli attack.
The 10-page document urges for more international sanctions and expanding financial pressure on Iran.
"I think a military operation -- I think I don't even want to imagine the consequences of this step," he said in an interview with Washington Post on Sunday.
Lieberman who was once a strong supporter of "bombing Tehran" plan is now opting for a solution based on diplomatic and economic sanctions.
"I think we need sanctions -- really tough and very strong political and economic sanctions, as in the case of North Korea and Libya," Lieberman said.
Lieberman as Yisrael Beiteinu party leader played a key role in recent Israeli politics after his party won more seats than expected in the parliamentary elections, giving him the opportunity to help right-wing Likud head Benjamin Netanyahu accede to the premiership.
Israeli Prime Minister-designate Netanyahu said earlier that Iran is the top challenge facing Israel.
"Iran is seeking to arm itself with nuclear weapons and is the most serious threat to our existence since the war of independence" in 1948, Netanyahu said.
Israel, which according to former US president Jimmy Carter is the sole possessor of a nuclear arsenal in the Middle East, has repeatedly threatened Iran with war if the country continues its nuclear program.
Washington, Tel Aviv, and their allies accuse Tehran of having a covert nuclear weapons program.
However, Iran, a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) whose nuclear sites are under heavy inspections of the UN nuclear watchdog, says its uranium enrichment program is a peaceful drive to produce nuclear energy for the country's growing demand.
Earlier this month, IAEA Chief Mohamed ElBaradei issued a report, reconfirming the "non-diversion" of declared nuclear material in the Islamic Republic.
Meanwhile, the UN nuclear watchdog recently affirmed that Iran is far from "a breakout capacity" to produce a bomb, "we think they (Iranians) are not there," said an IAEA official.
... Payvand News - 03/05/09 ... --