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US should lead Iranian issue, Israeli president to tell US

Backtracking on threats by Israeli officials of a strike on Iran over their nuclear programme, Shimon Peres expected to tell American president Barack Obama that Israel won't attack

Ahram Online , Thursday 23 Feb 2012
Israel
Israeli President Shimon Peres, (Photo: Reuters).
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The Israeli daily Haaretz newspaper said on Thursday that Israeli President Shimon Peres is to tell US President Barack Obama that Israel should not attack Iran in the near future.

Peres downplayed recent threats made by senior Israeli officials against Iran of a possible Israeli strike without US backing. According to Haaretz, Peres plans to tell Obama that such "unceasing self-intimidation" by Israel is pointless.

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak had recently warned that time was running out for action on Iran, saying that there exists "a broad global understanding that if the sanctions don’t achieve the desired result of stopping the military nuclear program, it will be necessary to consider action” as quoted in the Washington Post.

Peres, who had previously tried to mediate international differences over the Iranian nuclear programme, said to officials that such threats, like those made by Barak, amount to uncalled-for warmongering, adding that Israel should leave the Iranian issue to global powers like the US, confirmed Haaretz. 

Western powers condemn a strike against Iran, preferring to pursue the issue through diplomatic channels and sanctions.

Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, recently asserted that a strike against Iran would be destabilising to the region.

Similarly, British Foreign Secretary William Hague warned that an attack on Iran would currently be "unwise."

On Wednesday, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Israel's TV Channel 2 that whether or not to attack Iran is a decision Israel must make alone: "the security of the citizens of Israel, the future of the state of Israel, is the Israeli government's responsibility."

Peres' meeting with Obama next week is expected to focus on the issue of Iran. It is not yet clear what course of action Israel will take. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had recently warned Israeli officials to stop "blabbing" about striking Iran, saying such talk "damages sanctions" against Iran and puts Israel on the front line.

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