'Iran believes Israel to strike in year'

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Iran estimates Israel will strike Tehran's nuclear facilities within a year, and has been planning retaliatory attacks against Israeli, American and British interests, according to senior Lebanese political sources.

The sources, speaking to WorldNetDaily on condition of anonymity, said Iran believes Israel has been practicing raids in Iraq. They said Tehran has held a series of meetings with leaders of the Hezbollah terror group � based along Lebanon's border with Israel � about attacking the Jewish state in the event of any Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear sites.

The sources said while Iran is expecting lone Israeli military action, Iranian intelligence estimates the Jewish state is coordinating a planned attack with the U.S.

"The Iranians currently are operating under the working assumption that Israel is going to strike in less than a year and that this strike is highly coordinated with America," said a senior Lebanese politician.

Lebanese political sources said Iran has been attempting to organize Shiite tribes in Iraq to stage repeated large-scale attacks against American and British forces stationed there during any Israeli strike. They said Iran believes attacks in Iraq, including hits against soft targets such as oil fields, will prompt a British or American retreat.

The Lebanese sources said Iran claims it has intelligence information indicating Israel has been carrying out military exercises related to an attack against it from bases in Kurdish sections of Iraq. Israeli security officials said the claims are baseless.

Iran has instructed Hezbollah to stage retaliatory raids and missile attacks against Israeli military and civilians targets during any Israeli strike against Tehran, the Lebanese political sources added.

Hezbollah is stationed alongside Israel's northern border and boasts it has over 10,000 missiles pointed at the country's civilian population centers.

Officially, Israel denies it is planning military action against Iran. Israeli leaders regularly call Iran a "world problem" and urge the international community to halt Iran's nuclear ambitions through diplomacy and the threat of economic sanctions.

At a joint press conference yesterday in Washington, President Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said they still had faith in diplomacy. They stated Iran's nuclear ambitions must be halted.

"We have a variety options, one of which is of course the United Nations Security Council. Our primary objective is to solve this problem diplomatically. On all issues I'll try diplomacy first and exhaust diplomacy," said Bush.

Olmert called Iran a "major threat. This is something that must be stopped. There is a need to stop it and we reviewed the different ways to do it."

Iran is openly defying international calls to halt uranium enrichment activities. After Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was inaugurated last August, the country rejected European proposals aimed at curbing its nuclear programs and resumed nuclear projects, reopening a major uranium conversion plant in Isfahan. In January, Iran escalated the international confrontation by removing U.N. seals at one of its uranium-enrichment plants and resuming nuclear research.

So far, Tehran has scorned most diplomatic initiatives. Last week, it rejected an European Union proposal to cease uranium enrichment in exchange for economic incentives and the construction of a light-water energy reactor. Unlike the heavy-water plant Iran is building in the city of Arak, a light-water reactor wouldn't produce plutonium � another ingredient for weapons � as a waste product. Such a reactor would still need enriched uranium for fuel, though, which could be refined to weapons-grade material.

1 comment:

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