Keep up with the news by installing RT’s extension for . Never miss a story with this clean and simple app that delivers the latest headlines to you.

 

US, UK warn Israel against ‘premature’ attack on Iran

Published time: February 19, 2012 19:45
Edited time: February 20, 2012 17:40

British Foreign Secretary William Hague. (Reuters / Mike Hutchings)

Download video (29.55 MB)

The US and Britain are urging Israel not to attack Iran’s nuclear sites. The countries’ top officials believe a strike would be ‘unwise’ and it will not halt the Iranian nuclear program.

US military officials are not fully convinced that Iran is gearing towards creating nuclear weapons, the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, explained in an interview to CNN.   

“On that basis, it would be premature to exclusively decide that the time for a military option was upon us,” he said.

According to Dempsey, US authorities believe an Israeli strike on Iran would not halt the Iranian nuclear program but will only delay it temporarily. He estimates the delay would last "probably a couple of years, but some of the targets are probably beyond their [Israelis’] reach." 

Martin Dempsey added that Israelis themselves are well aware a strike now could not be efficient. "I'm confident that they understand our concerns, that a strike at this time would be destabilizing and wouldn't achieve their long-term objectives," he said.

Dempsey suggested the West had to be better-prepared for a possible military confrontation with Iran. "I mean, fundamentally, we have to be prepared," he said. "And that includes, for the most part, at this point, being prepared defensively."

Analysts, who talked to RT, said Martin Dempsey was right saying that Israeli military action against Iran is unlikely to affect the country’s atomic program in the long term. 

“If Israel attacks Iran it will not stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons. They will only postpone it for a relatively brief amount of time,” said Barry Rubin, head of the Global Research and International Affairs Center. “The installations are too diverse to destroy effectively.”

According to retired Major General Nathan Sharoni, head of the Council for Peace and Security, the Israeli military might prove incapable of ruining the Iranian program. “I doubt whether we have the capability to create enough damage to the extent of annihilating the program,” he said.

In a cabinet discussion of Dempsey’s comments on Sunday, Israeli officials said their views do not necessarily coincide with the American approach.

"It was a clear expression, and I am sure that Israel, when considering its policy, is considering also the attitude of its allies,” said Daniel Hershkowitz, the Israeli Science and Technology Minister.

“Nevertheless we should remember that Israel and the United States are independent countries," he added.  

­UK: Israeli strike ‘unwise’, patience is key

­British Foreign Secretary William Hague delivered a warning on Sunday, echoing the General Dempsey’s approach.

"I don't think the wise thing at this moment is for Israel to launch a military attack on Iran,” Hague said in an interview to the BBC.

William Hague added that Israel should arm itself with patience, and “give a real chance to the approach [the US and EU] have adopted, of very serious economic sanctions and diplomatic pressure, and the readiness to negotiate with Iran.”

A special delegation of the International Atomic Energy Agency arrived in Iran late on Sunday to hold talks on the country’s nuclear program. The UN’s nuclear watchdog is due to establish whether the country is gearing towards creating its own nuclear weapon, as feared by the Western states.

Lately, the US and the EU have piled on sanctions targeting Iran’s oil and financial sectors, and continue to push forward with more ideas on how to further cripple the country’s economy.

Israel, however, considers a nuclear-armed Iran to be an existential threat, and refuses to rule out military action against the Islamic Republic. Israel sees sanctions as a weak weapon against Iran’s nuclear aspirations.

Iran has cut off oil supplies to Britain and France. These are the first two countries to suffer a slap on the wrist from Tehran, who earlier this week suggested it might also cut supplies to the Netherlands, Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy. The EU imposed an embargo on oil imports from Iran that is due to come into effect on July 1, but Iran has made its own move without waiting for the deadline to arrive.