Netanyahu was close to attacking Iran in 2012 despite Obama - NYT

In an interview, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed that Israel was close to attacking Iran in 2012 but stopped after he did not have enough support in his cabinet.

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
September 5, 2019 00:35
1 minute read.
Iran

Satellite image shows a nuclear facility in Iran. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Israel launched drones into Iran from Azerbaijan, and the United States held a practice bombing run on a mock nuclear facility in the western US as part of plans both countries had to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear capability back in 2012.

The revelations came as part of a New York Times exposé on Israeli and American efforts in recent years to stop Iran’s race to an atomic bomb.

In an interview, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed that Israel was close to attacking Iran in 2012 but stopped after he did not have enough support in his cabinet. An Israeli strike, he said, “was not a bluff – it was real. And only because it was real were the Americans truly worried about it.”

“If I’d had a majority, I would have done it,” he told the Times. “Unequivocally.”

According to the report, Ehud Barak, then Israel’s defense minister, was invited to the Pentagon and shown a highly-classified video by defense secretary Leon Panetta of an American strike – using a massive 16,000-kg. bomb – to destroy a replica of Iran’s Fordow nuclear facility. Barak was reportedly impressed by the show.

According to the report, the Obama administration sent a senior official to Israel every few weeks to “Bibi-sit” and try to stop Israel from attacking.

“It did not escape our understanding that having a visit of a senior American official on the calendar probably bought you a couple of weeks – before the visit and then after the visit,” Dan Shapiro, the former American ambassador to Israel, told the Times. “For an Israeli official, it meant you knew you could not strike without feeling that you’ve deceived somebody while they were sitting in your office.”


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