Warning against a strike on Iran’s nuclear program, the French foreign minister said “everything must be done to avoid the irreversible.” The same ought to be said, with the same urgency, to avoid awakening some morning to news of an Iranian nuclear test.
Israeli President Shimon Peres warned on Sunday that an attack on Iran is becoming increasingly likely, days before a report by the UN’s nuclear watchdog on Iran’s nuclear programme is due.
“The possibility of a military attack against Iran is now closer to being applied than the application of a diplomatic option,” Peres told the Israel Hayom daily.
“We must stay calm and resist pressure so that we can consider every alternative,” he added.
“I don’t think that any decision has already been made, but there is an impression that Iran is getting closer to nuclear weapons.”
His comments came after he warned in an interview aired by Israel’s privately-owned Channel Two television on Saturday that an attack on Iran was becoming “more and more likely.”
“The intelligence services of the different countries that are keeping an eye on (Iran) are worried and putting pressure on their leaders to warn that Iran is ready to obtain the nuclear weapon,” he said.
In France meanwhile, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe warned that an attack on Iran would be disastrous.
“We have imposed sanctions that continue to expand, we can toughen them to put pressure on Iran,” Juppe told Europe 1 radio.
We have been in that same endless cycle for years now, with sanctions, a waiting period, assessment, and more sanctions, and Iran has continued not to cooperate.
“We will continue on this path because a military intervention could create a situation that completely destabilises the region,” he said.
“Everything must be done to avoid the irreversible.”
In recent days, speculation in Israel has grown about the possibility of a pre-emptive strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, with Haaretz newspaper reporting that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Ehud Barak were seeking cabinet support for an attack.
And the military last week carried out what Israeli media called a “ballistic missile” test, as well as a large-scale civil defence drill simulating the response to conventional and non-conventional missile attacks.
Officials said both events were long-planned, but they drove talk here about whether Israel is ramping up plans for an attack.
On Sunday, Haaretz reported that US officials had failed to secure a commitment from Israel that it would coordinate any attack plans with Washington.
Still, media reports suggested no final decision has been taken and that a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) nuclear watchdog on November 8 or 9 would have a “decisive effect” on decision-making.
Previous IAEA assessments have centred on Iran’s efforts to produce fissile material — uranium and plutonium — that can be used for power generation and other peaceful uses, but also for the core of a nuclear warhead.
However the new update, which diplomats say will be circulated among envoys on Tuesday or Wednesday, will focus on Iran’s alleged efforts to put the fissile material in a warhead and develop missiles to carry them to a target….