US rejects Israeli arms request: report

August 13th, 2008  

Topic: US rejects Israeli arms request: report

JERUSALEM: The United States has rejected an Israeli arms request that would have improved Israel's capability to attack Iran's nuclear facilities, an Israeli newspaper reported Wednesday.

Haaretz did not say what kind of weapons Israel, which already receives substantial U.S. military aid, was seeking. But it said the U.S. warned Israel against attacking, saying it would undermine American interests. The unattributed report also claimed the U.S. demanded that Israel give it a heads-up if it decided to strike Iran.

Israel says Tehran is trying to develop nuclear weapons and believes it will be capable of building a bomb by 2010. It has been pushing for greater international pressure on Iran to halt its nuclear program. Iran says the program is peaceful and meant solely to generate energy. Both the U.S. and Israel have said they would prefer a diplomatic solution to the standoff but have not ruled out military action. However, the U.S. has recently signaled it is moving away from the military option.

Israel is unlikely to carry out an attack without at least tacit approval from the United States, which aimed to send a strong message against such an action by rejecting the arms request, Haaretz said.

Israel's Defense Ministry and the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv both refused to comment on the Haaretz report. But in a radio interview, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak alluded to the current differing U.S. and Israeli positions.

"The opinion of the U.S. is known that at this time it does not think an action in Iran is the right thing to do," he told Israel's Army Radio. "Our position is known, as is their formal position, that no option should be taken off the table. And when we say that we mean it."

Barak called for further sanctions and other measures to stop the Iranian program, which he called "a serious threat to world order."

Israel views the prospect of an Iranian bomb as an existential threat. Iran's president has denied the Holocaust and repeatedly called for Israel to be "wiped off the map."

Iran's nuclear program took on new urgency a week ago after U.S. officials rejected Tehran's response to an incentives package aimed at getting it to stop its nuclear activity setting the stage for a fourth round of international sanctions against the Iranians.

The Haaretz report said Washington offered to improve Israel's defenses against surface-to-surface missiles, as compensation for rejecting its other requests. Iran has a large arsenal of long-range missiles capable of striking Israel.

Israel has also recently purchased 90 F-16I fighter planes that can carry enough fuel to reach Iran, and will receive 11 more by the end of next year. It has bought two new Dolphin submarines from Germany reportedly capable of firing nuclear-armed warheads in addition to the three it already has. According to foreign reports, Israel possesses one of the world's largest nuclear arsenals. The government refuses to confirm or deny any nuclear capability.

This summer Israel carried out air maneuvers in the Mediterranean that touched off an international debate over whether they were a "dress rehearsal" for an imminent attack. According to foreign media reports, Israeli intelligence is active inside Iranian territory.
August 15th, 2008  
Italian Guy
Go and tell it to the followers of the "Washington-slave-of-Jerusalem-and-of-AIPAC" doctrine.

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