US President Barack Obama warned Chinese Prime Minister Hu Jintao in Beijing last month that Washington can only prevent Israel from attacking Iran for so long, senior Israeli diplomats revealed to Ha'aretz on Thursday.
Obama was in China to convince Hu to stop opposing international efforts to sanction Iran over its defiant nuclear program. Obama warned that eventually Israel will feel the threat to its existence is too great and will attack Iran's nuclear facilities, and there will be nothing the US can do to stop it.
Washington believed the visit to be a success when China backed international condemnation of Iran a week after Obama returned to the US. But in the past two weeks, China has returned to its previous policies by opposing international efforts to impose new sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
Both Obama and Israel also hoped to decrease China's dependency on Iranian oil, which provides a very steady income for Tehran.
Meanwhile, the Israeli and American intelligence communities are leading a global effort to uncover and shut down clandestine Iranian purchasing networks that are busy buying up the materials needed for Iran's nuclear program.
One such network was exposed recently in Taiwan.