‘We reserve operational freedom on Iran’

Uzi AradIsrael will not sit on the sidelines and watch while Iran attains nuclear weapons capability, said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s National Security Adviser Uzi Arad on Thursday, adding that the US was aware of Israel’s security needs and knew that it would not necessarily receive forewarning of an Israeli strike against Teheran’s nuclear facilities.

Israel maintains its liberty to operate against Iran, Arad told Army Radio. During this week’s visit to Washington, Arad said, the prime minister “clarified that Israel reserves operational freedom, and several of the most senior figures in the administration said ‘of course.’”

Arad emphasized that the Americans were aware of Israel’s unique security needs and accepted them. “There have been past instances,” he said, “in which Israel did not update the United States regarding military operations.”

On Wednesday, CIA director Leon Panetta said Israel knew it needed to coordinate its strategy on Iran with other nations and that attacking Teheran’s nuclear facilities would mean “big trouble”.

Acknowledging that he had recently traveled to Israel to meet Netanyahu and warn him against a strike on Iran, the CIA chief told Global Viewpoint that he “felt assured” Israel would not break ranks with Washington’s strategy.

“Yes,” he said, “the Israelis are obviously concerned about Iran and focused on it. But [Netanyahu] understands that if Israel goes it alone, it will mean big trouble. He knows that for the sake of Israeli security, they have to work together with others.”
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