Israeli officials on Tuesday dismissed excited announcements by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of yet another "breakthrough" in diplomatic efforts to halt Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program.
Following talks in Tehran, IAEA chief Yukiya Amano declared that he had reached a tentative agreement with the Iranians that would hopefully lead to open inspections of facilities where Iran is believed to have recently conducted tests that are part of the nuclear bomb-building process.
The supposed breakthrough came just one day before members of the UN Security Council were to meet in Baghdad to discuss Iran's continued defiance and the possibility of increasing sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak seemed flabbergasted that the IAEA would once again fall for what he and other Israeli leaders see as obvious delaying tactics by Iran.
"The Iranians are trying to reach a technical deal that will create the appearance of progress in the talks in order to alleviate [international] pressure...and postpone an escalation in sanctions," Barak said, as he urged the West to stop playing the willful idiot in this scenario.
Addressing the Knesset, Israeli military intelligence officer Brig. Gen. Itay Brun said Iran is pushing full steam ahead to develop a nuclear weapon, and that the international community does not have time to continue playing diplomatic games.
Brun said that at this point, it must now be obvious that diplomacy has no chance of preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. Brun believes Iran will be able to test its first nuclear bomb by the end of this year, which would put it into what Barak previously referred to as the "zone of immunity."
A senior Israeli official cited by The Jerusalem Post noted that North Korea had played a similar ruse on the international community by constantly agreeing to talks, before ultimately conducting two nuclear detonations. He joined Barak in wondering why the West was again allowing itself to be duped.
Many Israelis are beginning to suspect that the West has simply resigned itself to the idea that Iran will obtain nuclear weapons, which it will justify by insisting that Iran's leaders would never actually launch such weapons at another nation, even the hated "Zionist entity."
But Israel has faced very real existential threats before, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is adamant his nation will not allow a threat of this magnitude to arise unopposed. The Israeli belief that Iran would actually use nuclear weapons against the Jewish state was validated last week when former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar revealed details of a conversation he had in 2000 with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
"In a private discussion we held in Tehran in October of 2000, Ali Khamenei told me that Israel must be burned to the ground and made to disappear from the face of the Earth," Aznar told a briefing at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. "He meant physical termination through military force."
Aznar shared is concerns with Netanyahu, but by all indications, Israel's leadership is already preparing for an inevitable military showdown with Iran.
A senior unnamed Western diplomat told Reuters last week that the recent lack of warnings and military threats from Israeli leaders "tells you a lot about where things stand. I think they've gone into lockdown mode now. Whatever happens next, whatever they decide, we will not find out until it happens."
In a very vague pronouncement on the situation of Israel's readiness, outgoing Israel Air Force chief Ido Nehushtan told Channel 2 News that the air force "understands the missions it may be carrying out. It is devising operational plans. It is building its strength. It is innovating."
When asked if he was referring to an attack on Iran, Nehushtan smiled and responded, "I think I've said enough."