Israel prepares a set of red lines for Washington to inject into its Iran policy as the current US approach toward Tehran rankles Tel Aviv.
The revelation that the White House will be briefed on its ‘red lines’ came ahead of a visit by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Israel and the West Bank, during which she is scheduled to meet with various high-ranking Israeli officials.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry and the defense establishment have been working together to formulate a set of redlines for the newly-established US administration of President Barack Obama.
President Obama’s pledge to untangle 30 years of enmity toward Iran and engage the country with diplomacy over its long-disputed nuclear case has become a cause for concern in Tel Aviv.
While the Israeli contingency plan recommends that Tel Aviv adopt a positive approach toward Tehran-Washington talks, it suggests measures to minimize what government officials see as a risk posed by such dialogue.
The proposed plan requires Washington to both precede and accompany its dialogue by “harsher sanctions” against Iran, arguing that “the talks are liable to be perceived by both Iran and the international community as acceptance of Iran’s nuclear program.”
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Earlier on Monday, Israel-ally Hillary Clinton predicted that making diplomatic overtures to Iran are unlikely to make the Islamic Republic halt its nuclear enrichment program.
She added that the expected rebuff by Iran would strengthen America’s diplomatic position as it would quell complaints that Washington has not exhausted diplomatic routes with Tehran.
The red lines – set to be dictated to Clinton — also pushes the US for a time limit on talks in an effort to prevent Iran from “buying time” and completing its nuclear development.
Israel also wants the US to “formulate an action plan with Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain regarding what to do if the talks fail.”
Tel Aviv also expects Washington to give a “one-time only opportunity” to Tehran for talks and examine whether it should begin the talks before Iran’s June presidential election.
The strategic proposal comes in line with another report by Haaretz, revealing that “What Israel is trying to do — in a low-profile way — is to impact the way the Americans reach the point of dialogue”.
The report came amid growing speculation that Washington and Tel Aviv may have diverged in their analysis of the urgency of the “threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program” and its defensive military preparations for countering a possible strike.
While the Obama administration has declared full commitment to Israel’s security, emerging differences between the US and Israel on Iran are weighing against a prospective US-backed Israeli military action on the country.
Despite the lack of US support for any such military attack, Israel has so far refused to drop the military option against Iran.
Earlier last week, after Iran began a test-run of its first nuclear power plant in Bushehr, lame-duck Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was quick to send out a warning signal to Tehran.
“We are a strong country, a very strong country, and we have at our disposal (military) capacities the intensity of which are difficult to imagine,” Olmert told public radio on Thursday.
“We have deployed enormous efforts to reinforce our deterrence capacity,” Olmert added. “Israel will be able to defend itself in all situations, against all threats, against all enemies. I cannot say more but believe me, I know what I’m talking about.”