Friday, February 3, 2012

Panetta believes Israel could strike Iran this spring



U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has come to the conclusion there is a growing likelihood Israel could attack Iran sometime this spring in an effort to destroy its suspected nuclear weapons program, according to a senior administration official.


The official declined to be identified due to the sensitive nature of the information.

Panetta's views were first reported by the Washington Post's David Ignatius, who wrote Panetta "believes there is strong likelihood that Israel will strike Iran in April, May or June - before Iran enters what Israelis described as a 'zone of immunity' to commence building a nuclear bomb."

Asked by reporters in Brussels, where Panetta is attending NATO meetings, the defense secretary refused to comment. But Panetta told reporters the U.S. has "indicated our concerns" to Israel, according to the Agence France Presse news agency.

But the official also noted that Israel goes through cycles of making aggressive statements about its intentions toward Iran in an effort to pressure the United States and the West to take more action.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned Thursday that Iran may be close to the point "which may render any physical strike as impractical," according to Reuters. Read More