Israeli officials were furious on Wednesday after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton indicated that her government has reconciled itself to the idea of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons, and shifted its focus to minimizing the damage caused by such a reality.
Speaking to reporters in Bangkok on Tuesday, Clinton said that Iran needs to "calculate what I think is a fair assessment: that if the United States extends a defense umbrella over the region, if we do even more to develop the military capacity of those (allies) in the Gulf, it is unlikely that Iran will be any stronger or safer" even if it has nuclear weapons.
Israeli Minister of Intelligence Dan Meridor said in an interview with Army Radio that speaking of deterring a nuclear Iran with a defensive umbrella while it is still possible to prevent Iran from getting nukes in the first place is unacceptable.
"I heard, unenthusiastically, the Americans' statement that they will defend their allies in the event that Iran arms itself with an atomic bomb, as if they have already reconciled with this possibility, and this is a mistake," Meridor said. "Now, we don't need to deal with the assumption that Iran will attain nuclear weapons but to prevent this."
Israelis have feared since November of last year that the election of US President Barack Obama signaled that without a direct and unsupported Israeli military strike, Iran would indeed obtain nuclear weapons.