(photo credit: Stringer Iran / Reuters)
Israel is expecting the United States to take the lead in pushing the United
Nations and other Western countries to impose tougher, new sanctions on Iran
following the publication of an incriminating International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA) report later this week.
The report is tentatively scheduled to be
published on Tuesday or Wednesday. Some of the sensitive information expected to
be revealed in the IAEA report is believed to have come from intelligence
agencies in the US and the United Kingdom.
Germany: Public debate about strike on Iran dangerous
On Monday, The Washington Post
revealed that Russian scientists have been assisting Iran in designing and
developing a nuclear weapon. Israel has consistently claimed over the years that
Iran’s work on a nuclear weapon never stopped.
Russian assistance to
Iran’s nuclear program has always been a contentious issue between Jerusalem and
Moscow, and Israeli officials said Monday they were not surprised by the
“Russia has always played this role and there is very little
that we, a small country called Israel, could have done to stop it,” one
official said.The Washington Post
cited Western diplomats and nuclear experts who claimed Russian scientists had taught the Iranians to construct the
kind of “high-precision detonators” that can be used to “trigger a nuclear chain
The report is also expected to provide satellite footage of
the Parchin facility, where Iran is believed to have built large steel
containers to test high explosives that can be used in nuclear
The Prime Minister’s Office refused to officially comment on
media reports regarding the contents of the IAEA document, saying it would first
need to receive the report and then have it reviewed by a team of
David S. Cohen, the US Treasury Department’s under-secretary for
terrorism and financial intelligence, is due to arrive in the region later this
month for talks in Israel and several key Gulf States about ways to increase
sanctions against Iran.
Cohen has been working to get European countries
to back a series of sanctions against the Central Bank of Iran, which has yet to
be directly affected by earlier rounds of sanctions.
An Israeli official
said that for quite some time, Israel has called for “beefed up” international
pressure on Iran.
“We hope this report will serve to galvanize the
international community against Iran’s nuclear program and in support of
increased sanctions,” the official said.
A second Israeli official noted
that it was Western powers such as the US, France, Germany and the UK – and not
Israel – that must take the lead in the drive for increased
“We expect the countries that are involved to draw the
necessary conclusions and to try to reach a decision on harsher and more
efficient sanctions on Iran,” the official said.
“We expect Russia and
China to chip in and not to sideline themselves from this international
On Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned that
military action against Iran would be a grave mistake with
“This would be a very serious mistake fraught with
unpredictable consequences,” Lavrov said.
He said there could be no
military resolution to the Iranian nuclear problem, and said the conflicts in
Iran’s neighbors, Iraq and Afghanistan, had led to human suffering and high
numbers of casualties.
Reuters contributed to this report.