A senior Iranian official on Tuesday told state-run media that Tel Aviv will be obliterated if either Israel or the US dare to launch a military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities.
"The Zionist regime is pressuring the White House to attack Iran. If such a stupid act were undertaken, Tel Aviv and the American ships in the Persian Gulf would be our first targets and would be burnt to ruins," warned Ali Shirazi, an assistant to supreme Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Over the past month, both the US and Israeli militaries have conducted massive exercises believed to have simulated strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities and maneuvers to defend against any Iranian retaliation.
Despite those preparations, Israeli officials have acknowledged that Israel would be unable to actually launch an attack on Iran without a green light from Washington, as Israeli planes would have to fly through Iraqi airspace controlled by the US military.
According to a former Pentagon official and leading US military analyst, the White House recently made very clear to Israel that that green light has not been given, and likely won't be given during the final months of the Bush Administration.
Speaking to gathered Israeli defense analysts at Israel's Institute of National Security Studies on Monday, Prof. Anthony Cordesman said that reining in Israel was the primary purpose behind the recent visit by Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen.
Cordesman, who is today the top defense analyst for the ABC television network, said that Mullen was sent by the White House to make it clear to Israel that the US is sticking to a policy of diplomacy vis-a-vis Iran, and that is not expected to change before the next US president takes office.
Former US Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton believes that puts Israel in an impossible situation.
Jerusalem is increasingly convinced that Iran will acquire nuclear weapons in the absence of military intervention by Israel or the US. But Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has indicated that if he is elected, he will take the military option for dealing with Iran off the table.
If Obama wins the presidential election in November, Israel will know that it has less than two months to hit Iran, or have its greatest existential nightmare come true, Bolton told a leading British newspaper last month.
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