Three issues lie at the heart of the controversy about whether Israel should attack Iran: necessity, legitimacy and capability. No one disputes that Tehran’s nuclear project is progressing slowly, despite the West’s efforts to curb it altogether. The unknown element is when the Iranians will acquire the capability to arm surface-to-surface missiles with a military warhead. Estimates range from 18 months to three years from when spiritual leader Ali Khamenei decides the country should have the bomb.
Israel tested a long-range ballistic missile capable of a carrying a nuclear warhead yesterday amid growing speculation that Benjamin Netanyahu is preparing to authorise military action against Iran.
Giving further grist to claims that military action is being seriously contemplated, it also emerged that Israel’s air force simulated a long-range attack at a Nato base in Sardinia last week.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak also related to the Iranian nuclear threat, saying, “We can’t remove any option from the table, but there is no immediate emergency. Our position has not changed and will not change, we believe that Iran must be prevented from achieving nuclear [weapons] capability.
The United States declined Wednesday to respond to “buzz” or “rumors” in Israel about reports Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was seeking cabinet support for a strike on Iran.