The United States has indirectly informed Iran, via two European nations which act as a back-channel during times of crisis, that it would not support an Israeli strike against the country’s nuclear facilities, as long as Tehran refrains from attacking American interests in the Persian Gulf.
From the report by the well-connected diplomatic correspondent Shimon Schiffer and translated via hard copy by TheBlaze in Israel:
The message that the U.S. conveyed to Iran via the most sensitive secret channels is unequivocal: if Israel attacks, we won’t stand behind her and we won’t be drawn into war.
They made clear to the Iranians that the U.S. does not intend to be sucked into a campaign if Israel decides to strike unilaterally and without advance coordination [with the U.S.], and they said that they expect from Iran that it will not attack strategic American targets in the Persian Gulf. That means, among other things, Army bases, Navy ships and aircraft carriers sailing in the region.
Meanwhile, Hezbollah is threatening that Iran could hit U.S. bases in the Middle East in response to any Israeli strike on its nuclear facilities even if American forces played no role in the attack.
“A decision has been taken to respond and the response will be very great,” Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in an interview with the Beirut-based Al Mayadeen television.
Heightened Israeli rhetoric about Tehran’s nuclear facilities, which the West says could be part of a weapons program, has stoked speculation that it may attack Iran before U.S. elections in November.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Sunday for the international community to set a “clear red line” for Iran, saying Tehran will not halt its nuclear program without one.
“I believe the truth must be stated: The international community is not placing a clear red line for Iran and Iran does not see international resolve to stop its nuclear program,” Netanyahu told his cabinet in broadcast remarks, according to Reuters.
“Unless Iran sees this clear red line and this clear resolve it will not stop moving forward with its nuclear program, and Iran must not have nuclear weapons,” he continued.
Pointing to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s report last week that Iran has expanded its nuclear activity in a heavily fortified underground bunker, Netanyahu said time is running out to stop the country.
“The report confirms what I have been saying for a long time – the international sanctions are burdening Iran’s economy, but they are not delaying the development of the Iranian nuclear program,” Netanyahu said.
But Netanyahu’s cabinet is divided over the wisdom of attacking Iran, and Israeli officials have dropped heavy hints of a climbdown strategy, under which Netanyahu would shelve threats of an attack now in return for a stronger public pledge from President Barack Obama on conditions that would provoke U.S. action in future.
Israeli officials reported an unprecedented low in the two nations’ defense ties.