LONDON — Israel opened negotiations to fly through U.S. controlled airspace in Iraq to carry out strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities, a British newspaper reported Saturday. Israel’s deputy defense minister denied the claim.
The Daily Telegraph newspaper quoted an unnamed Israeli defense official as saying the talks were aimed at planning for all scenarios, including any future decision to target Iran’s nuclear program.
Israeli bombers would need a corridor through U.S.-administered airspace in Iraq to carry out any strikes, the official was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
Ephraim Sneh, Israel’s Deputy Defense Minister, told The Associated Press on Saturday that the report was incorrect. “This is baseless information,” Sneh said. “Maybe people like to divert (attention from) the need for immediate economic sanctions (with) stories about imminent Israeli action, which is not on the agenda.”
The international community’s focus should be on imposing economic sanctions on Iran for defying U.N. Security Council resolutions, he said.
Senior officials of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — Britain, the U.S., France, China and Russia — and Germany are meeting Monday for an emergency summit in London to discuss measures against Tehran.
The U.S. and its Western allies insist Iran must suspend uranium enrichment before any negotiations over its nuclear program take place and accused Tehran of using a civilian program as a cover to develop weapons.
Iran, has rejected the condition to suspend enrichment and insists that its nuclear program is peaceful.
LONDON – Israel is seeking permission from the United States to fly its jets over Iraq to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, The Daily Telegraph newspaper said on Saturday, citing sources.
A senior Israeli defence official told the conservative British broadsheet in a dispatch from Tel Aviv that negotiations were taking place for the US-led coalition in Iraq to provide an “air corridorï¿½? over Iraq if the Jewish state decided on unilateral action.
“We are planning for every eventuality, and sorting out issues such as these are crucial,ï¿½? the official said.
“If we don’t sort these issues out we could have a situation where American and Israeli war planes start shooting at each other.ï¿½?
Iran’s hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has in the past called for Israel to be wiped off the map.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issued a report Thursday saying that Iran had not halted, and in fact had expanded, its uranium enrichment programme, defying a United Nations Security Council demand to stop by this week.
The United States, France and Britain have called for tougher Security Council sanctions on Tehran, while Germany, China and Russia have taken softer stances. Iran denies US charges that it seeks nuclear weapons.
An Israeli officer involved in the military planning told The Daily Telegraph: “One of the last issues we have to sort out is how we actually get to the targets in Iran. The only way to do this is to fly through US-controlled air space in Iraq.ï¿½?
A senior Israeli security official who works on the strategic committee set up to deal with the Iran threat, chaired by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, said: “The amount of effort we are putting into this single issue is unprecedented in the history of the State of Israel,ï¿½? the newspaper reported.
Israel has refused to rule out pre-emptive military action against Iran. Israeli warplanes in 1981 destroyed the Osirak nuclear reactor near Baghdad after suspecting Iraq of aiming to build nuclear weapons.
As I’ve stated in the Dolphin post below, permission to overfly ANY U.S. controlled airspace to attack Iran would probably bring a total meltdown in the Middle East. This only increases the potential use of Dolphin subs and since this is probably a one time strike the Israelis will likely use their nuclear option to ensure the destruction of all nuke facilities.
A couple of good discussions in our forums can be found here: