Donald Macintyre: Revelation may galvanise Security Council

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Israel will regard the latest revelations about the Iranian enrichment plant as a handsome vindication of its view that Tehran has been persistently cheating the world on the scale of its nuclear ambitions.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will also feel satisfied that he highlighted the Iranian threat in his speech to the UN General Assembly on Thursday, even if the dramatic – some would say melodramatic – content was distinctly short on detail of the nuclear aspect or how to deal with it.

With Mr Netanyahu on his way back from New York and with the last sabbath before Yom Kippur under way, there was no official Israeli comment. But that may not be a mere accident of timing; while Israel will feel obliged to react, at least by tomorrow, it may prefer to let the welcome international momentum that is building in the wake of the disclosure take its course. One of its hopes will be a renewed urgency on the part of the Western powers towards an issue which it has long made the number one security priority for Israel itself.

It is not certain that the revelations will move the prospect of Israeli unilateral military action higher up the agenda, at least in the short term. That remains the last resort and the hope in the Israeli security establishment will be that the two most resistant UN Security Council members, Russia and China, will finally be galvanised into backing the tougher sanctions Israel has long advocated.

If they do not, Israel will still hope to co-ordinate any planning on military options with the US.