Senior Israeli officials were satisfied Sunday with Iran’s rejection of Western proposals for the nuclear crisis. “As far as Israel is concerned, the Iranian response is good,” one state official said. It has been estimated that this will force President Barack Obama to toughen sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
Senior state officials said that Iran is hardening its position in an effort to challenge Obama. “They believe that the White House does not want a conflict on an election year,” one state official said. “Once they form an official stance we’ll know how financially stressed they are.
“If Obama sees he’s being challenged he will be forced to toughen the sanctions in an unequivocal manner.”
Another senior official said the Iranians are stalling for time. “As far as Israel is concerned the Iranian response is good because ultimately Obama will be forced to toughen the sanctions.”
World powers will hold the next round of nuclear negotiations with Iran on April 14 in Istanbul.
Iran on Sunday rejected demands the West is reportedly to submit at the talks saying it will neither close its Fordo nuclear bunker nor give up higher-level uranium enrichment.
After meeting with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “Our policy on Iran has not changed. We have seen that Iran is using the talks to stall and deceive. We will follow the talks. The demands of Iran must be clear: to take away the enriched material, halt the enrichment and dismantle the facility in Qom.”
‘Israel’s military options restricted’
Meanwhile, the military journal Jane’s Defense Weekly has cast doubt on Israel’s ability to mount a successful operation saying it would face “substantial difficulties,” The Telegraph reported.
According to the paper, experts believe Israeli military options are restricted to high risk choices, such as a long range missile bombardment from Israel or a special forces raid involving troops attack facilities on the ground.
“The significant distances involved and hardened features of Iran’s nuclear facilities make any ‘massive surprise’ aerial attack a very high-risk operation for Israel to undertake on its own,” Jane’s concluded in a recent study.
“This is not going to be one strike and they are out, not like Syria or Iraq where facilities were not underground, it is much harder than that,” said Malcolm Chalmers of the Royal United Services Institute.
A former SAS commander raised the possibility that Israel will send a commando force of 60 men who will target one facility, “potentially the uranium enrichment site at Fordow” but admitted he would be surprised if Israel tried to carry this out.
Iran: You can’t stop us
In an address on Iran’s annual day to celebrate its nuclear achievements, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned Western powers that Iran would continue to pursue its swift scientific progress.
“The nuclear industry is like a locomotive that can carry other industries along with it. It is like the space industry that has raised tens of sub-industries under it and it is clear that we must continue on this path,” the Iranian state news agency quoted him as saying.
“You are blind if you think you can block scientific growth in Iran by martyring Iranian scientists,” he added, referring to the killing of four Iranian scientists since 2010. “Don’t think you can stop this roaring river, and know that if you assassinate one scientist, hundreds and thousands will take his place.”