Israel 'hasn't decided on Iran strike'

2012-08-15 11:13

Washington - Israel has not yet decided whether to strike Iran over its suspect nuclear programme, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said on Tuesday, as Tehran dismissed the threat of an imminent attack.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Ehud Barak in recent days had stiffened their rhetoric on Iran, suggesting they were thinking more seriously of military action against Tehran's nuclear facilities.

When asked about the issue at a press conference, Panetta offered reassurances, echoing the White House line that there is still time to negotiate a solution to the nuclear showdown.

"I've said this before, I'll say it now - I don't believe they made a decision as to whether or not they will - they will go in and attack Iran at this time," Panetta told reporters.

"Obviously, they're an independent - they're a sovereign country. They'll ultimately make decisions based on what they think is in their national security interest," he noted.

"The reality is that we still think there is room to continue to negotiate."

Earlier this month, Panetta visited Israel, where his pleas for more time to let diplomacy run its course received a less than warm welcome from Netanyahu and Barak.

Speculation in the Israeli press about a possible strike has since multiplied.

The Jewish state insists that Iran is on the point of developing nuclear weapons, and says it reserves the right to act to prevent that. Tehran insists the program is solely for peaceful, civilian purposes.

Major concessions

Repeated rounds of talks between Iran and the permanent five members of the United Nations Security Council - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States - plus Germany have failed to end the standoff.

Tehran has refused to make major concessions on its right to enrich uranium, a process used to make nuclear fuel but also the core of an atomic bomb.

US President Barack Obama has stressed that his position is that he will stop Iran from "acquiring nuclear weapons" a step further down the path to developing an atomic arsenal than the Israeli red line.

There is concern in Washington that a unilateral Israeli strike may not destroy Iran's underground nuclear facilities, could spark Iranian retaliation worldwide and may drag the United States into another war in the Middle East.

"Any kind of military action ought to be the last alternative, not the first," Panetta said Tuesday.

General Martin Dempsey, the chairperson of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, emphasized that any military strike would likely only delay Iran's nuclear programme, not ruin it altogether.

"I may not know about all of their capabilities. But I think that it's a fair characterization to say that they could delay but not destroy Iran's nuclear capabilities," Dempsey told reporters.

On Tuesday, Iranian ministry spokesperson Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters that Tehran was not taking the Israeli threats seriously.

"Even if some officials in the illegitimate regime [Israel] want to carry out such a stupid action, there are those inside [the Israeli government] who won't allow it because they know they would suffer very severe consequences from such an act," Mehmanparast said.

  • gerhard.kress.3 - 2012-08-15 11:21

    Israel is not strong enough to go it alone otherwise they would have done it already.

      rick.kabose - 2012-08-15 11:49

      Israel did it to Iraq in the 80's. They'll bomb irans nuclear facilities before it's all moved underfround. They have no plans of invading iran,perhaps fighting off and smashing hezbolla and hamas should they "come to irans aid". Just a matter of time

      goyougoodthing - 2012-08-15 11:52

      Israel needs the backing of it's big brother the USA to do their bully boy work.

      tommy.jones.754918 - 2012-08-15 12:05

      goyougoodthing, and......if you had a big bad black belt brother I wouldn't mess with you. If I had a knife and you had a bazooka, I wouldn't mess with you. Doesn't matter where you got your bazooka. Iran can't grasp that concept it seems. What's your point?

      goyougoodthing - 2012-08-15 12:10

      The point is, it's not about the weapons... it's about taking control of Iran's central bank, one of only 3 independent ones left. Who are Israel anyway, to tell other nations what to do, they have no room to talk, the biggest land theft in the region has been perpetrated by the Zionists.

      tommy.jones.754918 - 2012-08-15 12:16

      Land theft. If you use that argument, then basically every Government in this world is a land thief.

      oom.koos.7 - 2012-08-15 13:03

      The real enemy is neither Israel nor Iran. It’s the thing that causes more deaths than any other, It starts wars, it destroys more lives than it saves. The real enemy is RELIGIOUS FANATASISM . It’s so old fashioned, its a form of professional superstition..WAKE UP..!! Its the 21st centuary...

      tommy.jones.754918 - 2012-08-15 13:29

      Adam, can you please rephrase your question? I think we are talking the same language (on the same page), but your question is just not clear enough to answer. Despite, if you look at the Kingdom of David, then you will notice that Israel today fits perfectly into that. Now we can't accept that borders will remain forever, as wars/disputes happen or independence's declared (especially up to the 20 century) and borders change (Germany for example). Modern times tells us that it doesn't work like that anymore and that we can't just go conquer land because we need it. Regarding my land theft/government comment - basically all land has been colonized/conquered or re-conquered at some stage - who were the original land owners? Where do you draw the line in history to say, these are the true and rightful owners?

      jaba.kov - 2012-08-15 14:07

      Israel is waiting for the last second in hope that negotiations could work first. Iran can not threaten to annihilate a country off the map while trying to build a bomb at the same time... Israel will attack if there is NO other choice. Israel has all the equipment necessary – the right planes, bombs, pilots and red buttons... like they did in Iraq (which saved Kuwait in 1991) and Syria (which will save the Syrian opposition in 2012). Israel has been attacked by fanatics constantly and has fought and won 6 wars of survival (the fact that they survived means Israel won); this is why Israel takes the Ayatollahs threats in Iran very seriously.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-15 17:06

      Goyougoodthing believes the US attacked itself on 9/11, Afghanistan was invaded by the CIA in the 1980's not the Soviet Union, central banks are the arms of private banks not governments, and the Rothschilds of all people are the source of ALL evil in the world. His words.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-15 17:07

      Dawood is a genocidal sociopath. He has called for the extermination of all Jewish people in the world. Again, his words.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-15 17:08

      War is less effective now than it was in eras past. Thankfully.

  • squeegee.pilot - 2012-08-15 11:22

    Israel will strike. Obama might be holding them back for now, but it has not helped at all. Iran don't believe that Israel will attack and therefore they are not making any real concessions. Bye bye nuclear program.

      john.bucknall.1 - 2012-08-15 12:20

      The only reason why Obama would be "holding Israel back" if indeed he is, is the fact that he will have to get involved, which would mean another conflict and that on the eve of his possible second term.

  • JohanCduToit - 2012-08-15 11:25

    If I was Iran I would do whatever it takes to get nuclear weapons. Can't trust Israel being the only ones to have nukes.

      almeleh - 2012-08-15 11:52

      Are you stupid? Iran has threatened to destoy Israel. Israel can defend itself by ANY means at it's disposal.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-15 12:43

      This is getting tiresome. The "threat" you mention is the claim that Iran threatened to "wipe Israel off the map", which is all well and good, except that it didn't actually happen and no such threat was ever made. There is neither any evidence nor any likelihood that Iran will attack Israel, either directly or through proxies. Who cares if Iran gets the bomb or not. If Iran uses it, Iran disappears. Likewise if the US hit China, the US will disappear. That is what nuclear weapons are for....balance. No one in the intelligence community believes that the Iranian mullahs have a death wish, nor would common sense suggest that they do. In reality, Israel is merely afraid of a local state getting deterrence against Israeli/US aggression. Stop with this fabled nonsense and propaganda!

      tommy.jones.754918 - 2012-08-15 12:49

      Fidel "except that it didn't actually happen" Same can be said for these SA Boeremag guys.....what now. The "wiping of the earth" statement by Iran is well documented.

      gerhard.kress.3 - 2012-08-15 13:11

      This would start other ME states to acquire nukes in an arms race.

      Larry - 2012-08-15 13:18

      Fidel, you make a convincing argument. However the realpolitic issue is that Iran supports and finances Hisballah and Hamas, Hisballah being an Islamic militia and not a standing armed force under the control of any government. Both have stated hostility for Israel and exist solely for Israel's destruction. The real concern is that Iran will arm these proxies with the means to detonate a 'dirty' bomb in one of Israel's cities. Iran will claim innocence. This is a more likely scenario to that of Iran arming a ballistic missile and firing it at Israel, which will obviously relt in devastating retaliation. A nuclear warhead detonated in Israel will also cause the deaths of many Muslims, both in Israel and Palestinian territories.

      jaba.kov - 2012-08-15 14:19

      Fidel: please go to youtube, in the search engine note down "Iran threatening to wipe Israel off the map" and watch... There is video proof thus no reason to debate.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-15 14:25

      @Larry The same argument applies if Iran were to hand over nuclear material to Hezbollah or Hamas, Iran will dissappear. The people who run Iran will do whatever they think suits their interests best, and don't care very much about Islam (or their brand of Islam). Communist countries are run for the benefit of the party elite, capitalist countries are run for the benefit of corporate elites. The ideologies that elites (whether communist, capitalist or Islamist) profess never get in the way of their pursuit of their own self-interest. The Mullahs' objectives in Iran is to survive and entrench their power and status, and not to commit suicide. Israel's insecurities are largely internal (seeing as it has all the muscle and connections) or brought about by it's own belligerence. The Mullah's and the Knesset could be in league, they seem to compliment each other so well.

      jaba.kov - 2012-08-15 14:31

      What’s more Fidel, this breaking news in the last hour: An Iranian defence official said Wednesday that there is no other way but to destroy Israel, ahead of this week's al-Quds Day, Iran's ISNA news agency reported. Fidel the threats & bulling by Iran are made day after day - your lies and manipulation is not fooling anyone.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-15 14:48

      You do not go to war with another country because of political statement. Political leaders of countries make political statements all the time and you do not see them declaring war on one another. I have seen the original statement by Ahmedinejad, written in Farsi, and its English mistranslation by the NY Times. The propaganda specialists are having a hayday! Why wouldn't the Iranian defence official say that, when that country is threatened almost daily by Israel, as we've seen through countless articles on this site. The same conspirators behind the invasion of Iraq have always wanted to invade Iran (and Syria). However after the exposure of their dishonesty and incredibly poor judgement about Iraq, their explanations for the necessity of destroying Iran are getting steadily more absurd and they themselves are becoming more difficult to engage with rationally.

      jaba.kov - 2012-08-15 15:22

      political statement??? Israel has been attacked numerous times by a few Arab nations... thus they take threats seriously... they are giving diplomacy a chance - they have been giving it a chance for 6 years - but time is running out - If Iran continue on their holy mission (in their own words) then Israel will have no choice but attack (only the nuclear sites) to defend itself from the type of people who are capable of throwing people off roofs for the simple reason that they are not the right sect of Islam – what do you think they will do to an infidel fidel?

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-15 17:11

      This is who you are, then Johan: The Iranian regime adjusts elections to hold onto power. It has stolen the Iranian government from the Iranian people. It funds the Jihadist movement that has killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of innocent people, mainly Muslims in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere. It is supporting Bashar Assad's brutal oppression of Syrians wanting nothing more than the right to vote. It supports the stoning of women. It openly calls for the elimination of Israel and denies the Holocaust, the single biggest attempt at human genocide in human history: six million people exterminated. It is dishonest, highly repressive, and self-serving at the expense of the Iranian people and humanity. Under no circumstances should it be allowed to have nuclear weapons. In any event it's days are numbered, and it knows this. Many Iranians are bubbling for freedom.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-15 17:13

      In Fidel's world the neo-Soviet Russian regime led by an ex-KGB officer is going to bring democracy to the Middle East, and Nelson Mandela is a phony, an Uncle Tom, a lackey of the West. His words.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-15 23:21

      Israel is to the election-adjusting Iranian regime what "Die Rooi Gevaar" was to the Apartheid regime. A manipulative ploy to present a false enemy to justify its existence.

  • david.appleby.372 - 2012-08-15 11:40

    If one thing is imminent Israel striking Iran definately is

  • goyougoodthing - 2012-08-15 11:52

    It's not about the weapons FFS, it's about the banks.

      tommy.jones.754918 - 2012-08-15 12:11

      Well, I don't think Uranium enriching is about banks and money....wait, it might be - selling off enriched uranium to rogue nations (Iranian friends) could be about money.

      Larry - 2012-08-15 13:19

      Twisted perspective. Good luck with that.

      goyougoodthing - 2012-08-15 14:13

      Larry you are so naive.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-15 14:50

      @Jaba Name calling is silly, unless you want to join the rest of the ranters who do nothing else on these threads but spew all kinds of silly insults. It's your choice!

      jaba.kov - 2012-08-15 15:23

      you are right, and I deleted the thread. However, I feel the same with the way you describe my second home.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-15 15:35

      Fair enough!

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-15 17:16

      Again, Goodthing believes: The US attacked itself on 9/11, Afghanistan was invaded by the CIA in the 1980's not the Soviet Union, Central banks are the arms of private banks not governments, and The Rothschilds (of all people) are the source of ALL evil in the world.

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-08-15 18:15

      Goodthing. And what makes you so clever? Anyone can spin a conspiracy and believe their own BS.

  • Thobile Lugwadu - 2012-08-15 11:54

    They must attack now, will see if they can win it. The west is like chiwawas.

      rob.bayliss.94 - 2012-08-15 12:21

      IS that a new type of Shwarma? Maybe using dogmeat, like Chihuahua? Thobile, if you are smart enough to use the internet then be smart enough to use it!

      Willie - 2012-08-15 12:22

      It will be a miscalculated move,just like the Japanes when they attacked Pearl Har.

      john.bucknall.1 - 2012-08-15 12:24

      Yeah, Thobile, just like the ANC cadre's hey? Israel wont be attacking churches and pubs though!

      Larry - 2012-08-15 13:21

      If anything, Israel is very good at calculating while the Arabs and Muslims are not. Proof is in Israel's survival and wars won against numerous and much larger enemy forces.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-15 17:20

      Why would you want this Thobile? Is there not enough violence in the world. Is South Africa not one of the most violent countries on Earth. Are you proud of this.

  • fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-15 12:27

    Enough with the stupid dangerous sabre rattling. The only reason there is so much chatter and no action is because everyone is too impotent to do anything to stop Iran. Iran keeps surprising me. Still cold blooded after decades under threat! There have to be some brillant minds with infinite self-confidence inside that mighty Iranian Government! Respect again!

      Larry - 2012-08-15 13:26

      I most definitely do not wish it, but you will eat you words Fidel. There is always sabre-rattling before a major conflict. All the more reason to believe that the conflict is imminent.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-15 14:34

      It is just so incredulous that so many from the saftey of their homes advocate conflict with Iran even as the failures of war stare us in the eyes. A twenty to thirty year military conflict in Iran may decimate that country but it will also irreversibly harm any country that initiates and take part in such conflict. "If you dig a deep hole for someone else, you will always be at the bottom of it first since your are the one digging"!!!

      jaba.kov - 2012-08-15 15:26

      A twenty to thirty year military conflict in Iran??? We are not talking about an invasion fidel - only 6 sites that need to be attacked to disable the programme - like was done in Iraq in the 80's and Syria in 2010.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-15 15:37

      What do you think will happen if Iran decides to retaliate? Or Israel feels so ernamoured that it thinks that it can attack another state without any consequences?

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-15 17:21

      In Fidel's world the neo-Soviet Russian regime led by an ex-KGB officer is going to bring democracy to the Middle East, and Nelson Mandela is a phony, an Uncle Tom, a lackey of the West. His words.

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-08-15 18:17

      Israel does not do 'failures'.

      gerhard.kress.3 - 2012-08-15 19:14

      Mgoqi if Iran retaliates the west will win even easier. Iran will experience the power of western weapons. And they will do it quickly. The russians will not help them.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-15 20:12

      Patrick, that's ridiculous. Israel is a vibrant place with highly entrepreneurial people. Let's also not forget that the Jewish people hold the most Nobel Laureates of any race. Quite an achievement.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-08-15 20:32

      Fidel, Yesssss. it does not surprise me at all, whem you believe democracy ==== " a noisy circus , every 4 or 5 years" !!!! ""It is just so incredulous that so many from the saftey of their homes advocate...................."" WHAT are you on about..................??? You made this silly statement, soo many times, but it is YOU who sits in the safety of your home, and don't care a damn, about the atrocities your hero, this assad terrorist, commits on his 'own' people !!!!!!

  • Tawizee - 2012-08-15 14:22

    Israel - Iran war might lead us to Third world war.

  • The-Azanian - 2012-08-15 14:26

    Omg...when they do plan on that. We Africans will be preparing Karoo desert for them to relocate and oh after that plan of blowing up Iran they should also build an airport in which nukes and bombs from Arab nations will land. After all real peace-loving jewish people wouldn't do that except NetyanYAHOO.

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-08-15 18:20

      Scrambled eggs make more sense.

  • jaba.kov - 2012-08-15 14:26

    The Iran-Iraq War. Let's see -- one million dead Iranians, in eight years of battling a vastly inferior Iraq. Towards the end of that rather humiliating draw, Iran's grand "battle plan" consisted of hurling twelve year old boys in the path of oncoming Iraqi tanks, and proclaiming those boys "martyrs." That won't work against Israel. Besides, Iran's computer networks have been seriously compromised by Israeli genius. Including Iran's military command and control. They cannot risk firing a ballistic missile at Israel because (a) they cannot be sure that the missile will land in Jordan (likely) and (b) they cannot be sure that the computer worms and viruses that have invaded their computer networks won't turn that missile around and drop it on Teheran. Iran's stock in trade has been really nothing more than vile rhetoric. Did they think that Israel would ignore their threats of destruction forever? Well, Israel won't. And Iran is hardly up to the task of tackling Israel.

      jaba.kov - 2012-08-15 14:28

      Let's see -- computer systems amuck, Israeli ULF waves generating three earthquakes off the same epicentre (something which has the seismologists scratching their heads) ... and that's not the end of it. Israel has much, much more -- which accounts for the chest-thumping false bravado of the Islamofascist regime in Teheran. Hence all the latest silly nonsense out of Teheran. Hey -- sure do hope that nothing happens to those multi-million dollar supertankers anchored off Bandar Abbas storaging multi-million dollar cargoes of petroleum. Gee, wouldn't it be a TERRIBLE shame if something were to happen to them ..... Iran has two choices: (i) they can back off their nuclear program and dismantle their existing facilities, or (ii) they can face the consequences. Computer networks. ULF waves. Please do keep in mind that Israel tried the most civilized ways first.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-15 14:54

      A Schoolboy arguing over the fate of Israelis/Iranians, as though it is a stolen baseball card.

      jaba.kov - 2012-08-15 15:27

      I guess the truth hurts fidel... but it shell prevail.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-15 15:39

      You are no military expert Jaba, you are just speculating!

      rick.kabose - 2012-08-15 16:18

      Speculating is "twenty to thirty year military conflict with Iran", if you talking about a proxy war with hamas and hezbolla,thats a joke. They would be in for a hiding to nothing

  • itse.nnete.1 - 2012-08-15 19:33

    Why should the USA and Israel be one of the few people with nuclear arsenals?No one country has the right to dictate another country's decisions.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-15 20:18

      No offense, this is an immature perspective. Nuclear powers are reducing their nuclear arsenals. Even the neo-Soviet Russian regime has done so. In regard to Iran, it's important to distinguish between the Iranian people, and the Iranian regime. The latter has stolen the Iranian government by adjusting elections. It funds the Jihadist movement that has killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of innocent people, mainly Muslims in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere. It is supporting Bashar Assad's brutal oppression of Syrians wanting nothing more than the right to vote. It supports the stoning of women. It openly calls for the elimination of Israel and denies the Holocaust, the single biggest attempt at human genocide in human history: six million people exterminated. It is dishonest, highly repressive, and self-serving at the expense of the Iranian people and humanity. Under no circumstances should it be allowed to have nuclear weapons. In any event it's days are numbered, and it knows this. Many Iranians are bubbling for freedom.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-15 21:14

      Unfortunately Patrick you continue to misread statements by distorting them through your Negative Ego.

  • imam.madi.129 - 2012-08-15 21:48

    Israel is bluffing, Iran is not Iraq and 2012 is not mid 80s. The USA/NATO alliance that will support Israel in another war in the middle east is broke and cannot agree among themselves on many things. They use the threat of bombing Iran the same way a spoilt brat threatens suicide if they don't get an expensive toy for christmas. Let them just go ahead and entertain us with another stupid. Just feel sorry for Iranian civilians and Israeli children/elderly and the war objectors, the rest are militias so let them go pick-up a fight in Iran.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-15 23:24

      You're confusing the election-adjusting Iranian regime with the Iranian people.

  • dean.ramjoomia - 2012-08-16 17:15

    For the fools out there Israel is the one country that no one want to see going to full scale war. And yes she will rip the heart out of most its arab/muslim nations at once before they can say Russia help us!! This \small\ country have more fire power and military capacity then several western nation combine. There intelligence gathering is far more superior than most countries in the world. They had infiltrated all the muslim/arab nations around them. Have More superior military capability than all those around them have more knowledge about the military capacity of all there enemies combine. Is the only country in the world that everyone hope doesn't get involve in a full scale war. She is about the only country who's army is constantly on an all alert/treat mode. And the Only nation in the World that will out last its enemies. And that my foolish friends is Bible truth. The US will rather risk it self than see Israel go to war. They will not invade any country just shoot it apart. That's Gospel for U. And I'm not jewish either

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-08-16 19:58

      You dont need to be Jewish to have common sense. Thanks.

      imam.madi.129 - 2012-08-16 20:48

      Hizbollah showed the world how to castrate the israeli militia, so it can be done.

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