Will Israel Attack Iran?

Israeli analysts reflect on U.S. reports of a possible Israeli attack on Iran.

ByABC News
July 1, 2008, 10:48 AM

JERUSALEM, Israel, July 1, 2008 — -- There is a possibility that Israel may attack Iran's nuclear facilities within the year, senior defense officials in Washington told ABC News today.

There are two "red lines" that would trigger an Israeli attack on Iran, one official said.

The first is whether there's enough uranium produced at the Natanz nuclear facility to create a nuclear bomb. The second "red line" refers to an SA-20 air defense system that Iran is purchasing from Russia.

This is the latest in a series of reports of possible Israeli retaliations against Iranian nuclear capabilities. The New York Times reported last month that Israel carried out a major military exercise over the Mediterranean, appearing to American officials as a "rehearsal" for a potential attack on Iran.

Israel's government officials declined to comment on the reports. But Ephraim HaLevy, former head of the Mossad, Israel's foreign intelligence service, said that the question of an Israeli strike on Iran has been "in the air" for a long time.

HaLevy noted President Bush's statements last month, when the president implied the possibility of force if diplomatic efforts failed to deter Iran from developing its nuclear program.

"When President Bush said that all the options were going on the table, this option was certainly one of them," HaLevy told ABC News.

"The Iranians must be aware that the world as a whole, and Israel within it, will not sit back and let the Iranians get nuclear capability without doing anything to stop it," HaLevy said.

"Nuclear capability in Iran's hands is not nuclear capability in safe hands," he added, "and so it affects all the countries in the world."

Israel is a country especially concerned about Iran's nuclear capability.

"Iran has made it clear that one of the major aims of their foreign strategic policy is to see the destruction of the state of Israel," HaLevy said. "Anything that gives them the capability to get to this realm of possibility needs to be dealt with before it's imminent."