We won't give US advance warning of Iran strike, says Israel

Message on military action against nuclear facilities strains relations between allies

Jerusalem

Relations between Israel and its staunchest ally, the United States, appear increasingly strained after Israeli officials said they would not give Washington any advance warning of a decision to strike Iran's nuclear facilities, according to US intelligence sources.

Israel's message was conveyed during recent high-level talks with Pentagon officials and is apparently aimed at absolving Washington of blame for failing to prevent an Israeli strike, the Associated Press reported, citing an anonymous US intelligence source. Israeli officials declined to comment on the report.

Far from allowing Washington a veneer of deniability, however, the claims seem likely to drive a deeper wedge between the two countries at a time of deep frustration in Washington over Israel's hawkish intentions towards Iran, which many fear could draw the US into a prolonged Middle East war.

Many believe that Israel is preparing for a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities this year, prompting the Obama administration to warn that an Israeli aerial strike would set back Iran's nuclear programme by one or two years at most.

Iran has denied claims that it is pursuing a nuclear-weapons programme – to widespread scepticism in the West. Nevertheless, officials in Washington believe that Tehran has not yet made the decision to build the bomb.

Israel's hawkish premier, Benjamin Netanyahu, is scheduled to meet Barack Obama at the White House next Monday, where Iran is expected to dominate talks. The US President is expected to press Israel to allow more time for new sanctions on Iran's central bank and energy industry to take effect.

The meeting between the two men – whose working relationship has at times bordered on hostile – follows a series of trips by Pentagon officials to Israel in an effort to persuade the Israelis to refrain from using force.

Ehud Barak, Israel's defence minister, has warned that such appeals "play into Iran's hands", according to Israel's Haaretz newspaper. At a recent forum he said it might soon be too late to halt Iran's nuclear ambitions, warning that the regime is on the verge of moving its nuclear facilities into underground bunkers, safe from bombardment.

But some believe that Israel's threats of a strike are mere posturing, designed to goad the West into taking tougher measures against the regime. Mounting an attack would pose considerable operational difficulties for Israel, unlike the US, which has aircraft carriers stationed nearby, and warplanes in neighbouring Afghanistan.

Nevertheless, a US politician, who met Israeli officials in Jerusalem last week, said he believed that Israel remained committed to taking military action against Iran, even without America's approval. "I got the sense that Israel is incredibly serious about a strike on their nuclear-weapons programme," Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told CNN on Monday.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
  • Get to the point
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power