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Sources: 'Iran believes Israel to strike within year'
Tehran planning retaliation against U.S., British interests

Aaron Klein / World Net Daily | May 24 2006

JERUSALEM – Iran estimates Israel will strike Tehran's nuclear facilities within a year, and has been planning retaliatory attacks against Israeli, American and British interests, according to senior Lebanese political sources.

The sources, speaking to WorldNetDaily on condition of anonymity, said Iran believes Israel has been practicing raids in Iraq. They said Tehran has held a series of meetings with leaders of the Hezbollah terror group – based along Lebanon's border with Israel – about attacking the Jewish state in the event of any Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear sites.

The sources said while Iran is expecting lone Israeli military action, Iranian intelligence estimates the Jewish state is coordinating a planned attack with the U.S.

"The Iranians currently are operating under the working assumption that Israel is going to strike in less than a year and that this strike is highly coordinated with America," said a senior Lebanese politician.

Lebanese political sources said Iran has been attempting to organize Shiite tribes in Iraq to stage repeated large-scale attacks against American and British forces stationed there during any Israeli strike. They said Iran believes attacks in Iraq, including hits against soft targets such as oil fields, will prompt a British or American retreat.

The Lebanese sources said Iran claims it has intelligence information indicating Israel has been carrying out military exercises related to an attack against it from bases in Kurdish sections of Iraq. Israeli security officials said the claims are baseless.

Iran has instructed Hezbollah to stage retaliatory raids and missile attacks against Israeli military and civilians targets during any Israeli strike against Tehran, the Lebanese political sources added.

Hezbollah is stationed alongside Israel's northern border and boasts it has over 10,000 missiles pointed at the country's civilian population centers.

Officially, Israel denies it is planning military action against Iran. Israeli leaders regularly call Iran a "world problem" and urge the international community to halt Iran's nuclear ambitions through diplomacy and the threat of economic sanctions.

At a joint press conference yesterday in Washington, President Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said they still had faith in diplomacy. They stated Iran's nuclear ambitions must be halted.

"We have a variety options, one of which is of course the United Nations Security Council. Our primary objective is to solve this problem diplomatically. On all issues I'll try diplomacy first and exhaust diplomacy," said Bush.

Olmert called Iran a "major threat. This is something that must be stopped. There is a need to stop it and we reviewed the different ways to do it."

Iran is openly defying international calls to halt uranium enrichment activities. After Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was inaugurated last August, the country rejected European proposals aimed at curbing its nuclear programs and resumed nuclear projects, reopening a major uranium conversion plant in Isfahan. In January, Iran escalated the international confrontation by removing U.N. seals at one of its uranium-enrichment plants and resuming nuclear research.

So far, Tehran has scorned most diplomatic initiatives. Last week, it rejected an European Union proposal to cease uranium enrichment in exchange for economic incentives and the construction of a light-water energy reactor. Unlike the heavy-water plant Iran is building in the city of Arak, a light-water reactor wouldn't produce plutonium – another ingredient for weapons – as a waste product. Such a reactor would still need enriched uranium for fuel, though, which could be refined to weapons-grade material.

Knesset member: Strike Iran now

Some Israeli leaders have urged attacks against Tehran.

Last week, Israeli Knesset member Effie Eitam, a member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said in a WND interview Israel and the international community should consider carrying out strategic strikes now against Iran's nuclear facilities to stall its suspected uranium-enrichment activities.

Eitam, a former Israeli army general, warned the Jewish state would need to attack Iran by itself if the international community led by the United States fails to successfully halt Tehran's nuclear program within about a year.

"With or without a world coalition, Israel will have to take action at some point when we are fully sure Iran's nuclear project is coming to a point of no return," he said. " I am worried all mechanisms of diplomacy used by the Iranians in response to the international movement against it are to buy time as they camouflage the real nature of their programs."

Asked to offer a timeline for the point at which he feels Israel would have to strike Iran by itself, Eitam replied, "We are talking about the period when Iran would have enough uranium to build a bomb. The information indicates this is not long away. Six months to a year or not much more.

"It is clear Iran is already starting to enrich uranium, and they are nearing the completion of technology necessary to assemble weapons. It is true they may leave quantities of uranium unpacked and not processed as weapons-grade for a time, but they can soon bring themselves to the point where they can make weapons within short periods of time."

Eitam deemed Iran "an international problem – by far not just an Israeli problem. The Iran leadership threatens the entire free world. It is a source of evil and not just a typical enemy. This evil will not compromise. It is best if it is destroyed physically. If the world doesn't act by a certain point, then Israel must."

Eitam said military action is the best assurance against Iran's nuclear program.

"With diplomacy and agreements you can never be sure unless the diplomacy comes to a point where the Iranians agree to dismantle their nuclear projects under intense international supervision. This looks extremely unlikely after so many years of negligence [by the U.S., Israel and Europe]. There is no second to physical destruction of Iran's facilities," said Eitam.

Eitam predicted Iran would also retaliate against Israeli and international interests in the event of a strike against its nuclear facilities, but he said Israel is prepared for the expected onslaught of violence.

"We are ready to defend ourselves against Hezbollah and are quite adept at dealing with terrorism," he said. "These Iranian threats are very cheap prices to pay relative to what an Iranian nuclear threat represents for the future of the state of Israel. The entire world may have some tough times while the Iranians try to retaliate by using terror internationally, hijacking embassies, targeting innocents like at nightclubs in Europe."

The Knesset member went on to blast Olmert and the current Israeli administration for what he said was "gross negligence" at failing to counter the Iranian threat.

"I am extremely skeptical as far as Olmert, [Defense Minister Amir] Peretz and [Foreign Minister Tzipi] Livni being able to revive and renew a credible Israeli policy toward Iran. So far they are paralyzed. They have no program. They are just waiting for a miracle or for someone else to act. In a very short time if Olmert fails to provide a new approach, the real question becomes whether he should continue to be allowed to govern."

Eitam recommended Israel make public a policy of deterrence he says would render an Iranian first strike against Israel useless.

"It is crucial to change Israel's current policy of vagueness to open deterrence. It needs to be made clear to the Iranians that Israel will not be the only country destroyed if it is attacked. Even if the Iranians have weapons, they wont enjoy any strategic advantage because Israeli deterrence will be clear and credible. They wont even think about destroying Israel because doing so will place them under the fear of being totally destroyed, too."

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