Threats to strike Iran concern Israel

Defense establishment fears threats may push Russian arms sale, defense of nuclear installations.

iran nuclear new 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
iran nuclear new 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Fears are mounting in the defense establishment that comments by senior officials regarding an imminent Israeli military strike against Iran will spur Russia to complete controversial sales of anti-aircraft missile systems to the Islamic Republic, The Jerusalem Post learned on Monday. There is also a fear that the comments will lead Iran to take extra precautions in defending its nuclear installations and begin to relocate and scatter some of them throughout the country. Earlier this month, Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz said that if Iran continued its nuclear program "we will attack it." The week before, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Israel's military option was viable, and on Sunday former deputy defense minister Ephraim Sneh said he believed Israel would, in the end, need to attack Iran. Following Mofaz's comments, defense officials said the remark was damaging for Israel, which, as a policy, preferred to not stand at the forefront of international efforts to stop Iran's nuclear program. After Mofaz made the remarks, oil prices skyrocketed by over $10. The concern in the defense establishment is based on talks Iran has been holding with Russia in recent years to purchase S-300 air defense missile systems. Israel believes that while Iran has not yet obtained the system, Iranian soldiers are already studying and training with it in Russia. Israel has been working diplomatically to prevent the sale and delivery of the systems. The S-300 is one of the best multi-target anti-aircraft missile systems in the world today and has a reported ability to track up to 100 targets simultaneously while engaging up to 12 at the same time. Iran recently received SA-15 air defense systems from Russia. The SA-15 can reportedly identify over 40 targets and fire at two targets simultaneously at a height of up to 6,000 meters. It is capable of engaging aircraft, helicopters, UAVs, precision-guided weapons and various types of guided missiles.