Israeli Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz this week reiterated that Israel will attack Iran if it feels there is no other option for preventing the Islamic Republic from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Mofaz, who stands a good chance of becoming prime minister when the ruling Kadima Party holds its mid-September primary, was accused of causing oil prices to rise sharply when he became the first high-ranking Israeli official to directly threaten Iran in early June.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post this week, Mofaz dismissed the idea that his words alone had negatively impacted oil prices, but insisted that Israel had to put its survival ahead of any other concerns.
Mofaz said: "Israel cannot let Iran get to the point of nuclearization. All options are on the table. If there won't be a choice other than a nuclear Iran or a military option, it's clear what our decision has to be."
Israeli officials expressed frustration earlier in the week over an apparent about-face by the Bush Administration vis-a-vis Iran. Washington confirmed that Undersecretary of State William Burns will, contrary to earlier policy, participate in direct talks with Iranian negotiators even before Tehran has agreed to halt its uranium enrichment efforts. The US also wants to open a diplomatic mission in the Iranian capital.
The softening of America's position came just days after a senior Pentagon official told British media that the Bush Administration had given Israel the go-ahead to complete preparations for a possible strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.