Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh denied on Saturday a report in the British Daily Telegraph that Israel was negotiating with the United States for permission to use Iraqi air space in an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. The report claimed that Israel plans to conduct surgical air strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities, although did not specify which installments Israel would strike. According to Sneh, no such plan exists. He added that the reports hailed from sources that wished to renounce responsibility for a lack of diplomatic action towards the Iranian nuclear threat.
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The Telegraph said that if such an operation were in the offing, Israel would need to seek permission from the Pentagon.
The newspaper quoted a senior Israeli defense official who told reporters that negotiations were now underway between the two countries for the US-led coalition in Iraq to provide an "air corridor" in the event of the Knesset deciding on unilateral military action to prevent Teheran developing nuclear weapons."
"We are planning for every eventuality, and sorting out issues such as these are crucially important," said the official, who asked not to be named.
"The only way to do this is to fly through US-controlled air space. If we don't sort these issues out now we could have a situation where American and Israeli war planes start shooting at each other."
On Thursday night, Israeli officials urged "crisper" and "faster" moves to sanction Iran after a UN report found the Islamic republic had expanded its program to obtain nuclear weapons.
Iran ignored the UN's deadline last Wednesday to halt uranium enrichment. Officials will discuss arms controls and whether to cut back on the $25 billion worth of export credits that are used by European companies to trade with Iran.