As Israeli talks of war on Iran gain momentum, Israel’s military Chief of Staff says the army must prepare for a military aggression.
In a meeting with top US diplomats on Monday, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi said Israel could not live with a nuclear Iran and that an Israeli military strike was a “serious” option in retarding the country’s progress.
Ashkenazi – whose request to meet with President Barack Obama and his American counterpart Admiral Mike Mullen was turned down – made the remarks in a meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her designated US envoy to the Persian Gulf, Dennis Ross.
The Israeli general and the American hosts discussed the Iranian issue shortly after reports revealed that the Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu plans a “major military confrontation” in the next few months.
Israel, believed by many to be the sole possessor of a nuclear arsenal in the Middle East, says Iran and its nuclear program pose an “existential threat” to Tel Aviv.
Under the claim, Israeli officials in the military and the government regularly threaten to launch aerial strikes against Iranian nuclear infrastructure.
Tehran is a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and, according to the UN nuclear watchdog, has not opted to violate the treaty.
Iran says the only objective of its program is to make use of the civilian applications of the nuclear technology. The US, Israel and their European allies – Britain, France and Germany – accuse the country of having military intentions in its pursuit.
Ashkenazi added that any final decision on Iran would be made by the government. He, however, said that he had been tasked with drawing up contingency plans since a military operation was a ‘concrete possibility’.