Reports have surfaced in the Middle East claiming Israel and the US are making military preparations for a possible attack on Iran.
It comes after Washington called for tougher measures to be taken against the country over its nuclear ambitions.
The reports first appeared in Iranian media and were later picked up by more mainstream Israeli and Iranian media. According to them, Israeli helicopters have dropped large amounts of military equipment in northern Saudi Arabia, eight kilometers from Tabuk, the closest Saudi city to Israel.
Later, London Times magazine published a report claiming that Saudi Arabia agreed to give Israel a narrow corridor of air space in northern Saudi Arabia. The article went on to say that the Saudis had adjusted defense missile systems to allow Israeli jets to fly overhead.
According to Egyptian sources, an American fleet made its way through the Suez Canal. Eyewitnesses say the fleet had eleven frigates and an air carrier. They add there was also an Israeli frigate among the ships. All commercial traffic was suspended for some time as the fleet made its way from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea.
There has been no reaction from Washington, but Saudi Arabia has vehemently denied the claims.
Dr. Eldad Pardo of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem says it is not unlikely for Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to cooperate with Israel against Iran.
“Definitely, it is possible,” Pardo stated. “The question is not whether it is Israel or not. Israel has military capabilities but, all in all, it is a minor player in the Iranian game. The major players are the superpowers and the phenomenon of globalization, free trade and all that is in danger if Iran obtains nuclear weapons.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Seyed Mohammad Marandi from Tehran University believes it is “highly unlikely” that the military buildup could mean the US is indeed planning to invade Iran.
“The United States right now is facing a very difficult situation in Afghanistan and in Iraq,” Marandi said. “The economic situation in the US is very painful… I don’t think the Americans have the energy or the resources to wage another war. Iran is much stronger than Afghanistan and Iraq combined.”
Meanwhile, Iran says it will not be holding international talks on its nuclear program before the end of August. The country’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he decided not to go back to the negotiating table now so that Western countries “learn how to hold talks with other nations.”
When talks resume, they should be based on the uranium enrichment deal drawn up by Iran, Brazil and Turkey in May 2010, Ahmadinejad said.