The US has proposed that Israel withhold from waging an assault on Iran till the next presidential term in America in exchange for most advanced weaponry, reports the Israeli Maariv newspaper. However,the White House denies the claim.
The proposal was supposedly made during the visit of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu to Washington, the newspaper says, citing unnamed diplomats and intelligence sources.
It adds the Americans have offered Israel the latest versions of bunker-busting bombs and aerial tankers to gain tactical advantage over Iran. This would imply Israel’s shelving of plans to attack Iran until 2013.
The US diplomats allegedly believe such step would enlarge the “opportunity window” for Israel to try to solve the issue of controversial Iranian nuclear program diplomatically.
An Israeli official speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed that the conversation about arms had taken place between Netanyahu and Obama, but said it was Israel that had asked for the weaponry.
“Such a request was made” around the time of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Washington this week, the official was quoted as saying by Reuters.
He also said he doubts that Washington placed any conditions on supplying the hardware, such as Israel promising not to attack Iran this year.
However, White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters Thursday “in meetings the president had there was no such agreement proposed or reached.”
News of the US possibly supplying Israel with weapons systems suitable for long-range military operations and strikes against fortified underground targets emerged on Tuesday. At that time, however, no conditions connected to the deal were mentioned.
Speaking to the Israeli prime minister in the Oval Office on Monday, President Obama once again reaffirmed his personal “unprecedented commitment” to Israel’s security.
On Wednesday Netanyahu told the Fox News Channel that he does not actually think a war with Iran is inevitable.
“The paradox is that if they actually believe that they are going to face the military option, then you probably will not need the military option,” Netanyahu said.
The sides also discussed new steps to be taken to isolate the Islamic Republic internationally even further.
At a media briefing in the White House Obama told journalists that America will apply more pressure on Iran despite the fact that “we provide a door for the Iranian regime to walk through,” Obama said.
Israel has been stressing for years that the real aim of the Iranian nuclear program is not peaceful energy, but the creation of an atomic bomb, and furthermore, the destruction of the Jewish state. Tehran has consistently denied such allegations, allowing the IAEA to inspect its nuclear facilities in an attempt to prove that its nuclear program is solely peaceful.
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