The Israeli Hebrew daily Maariv reported Thursday that the United States offered Israel cutting-edge weaponry in exchange for an Israeli pledge not to attack Iran’s nuclear program in 2012.
The report cited anonymous US diplomatic and intelligence sources as saying that the Obama administration would supply Israel with weapons that could extend its time-line for military action – like advanced GBU-28 bunker-busting bombs and long-range refueling aircraft, so that Israel could wait till after the 2012 presidential election to launch a strike.
The report comes after an earlier report in Israeli daily Haaretz contending that Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu had requested -instead of being offered- speedy approval of the sale of the advanced weaponry.
Either way, both reports indicated that the Obama administration would likely be expediting the transfer of the military hardware.
The report comes after the ‘P5+1’ – the five permanent members of the UN Security Council members plus Germany — offered to revive negotiations with the Islamic Republic over its controversial nuclear program: “We call on Iran to enter, without pre-conditions, into a sustained process of serious dialogue, which will produce concrete results,” the statement said. In the same statement they expressed “regret” over the expedited nature of Iran’s uranium enrichment, recently reported by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Israeli officials expressed cautious optimism for the renewed initiative, with Netanyahu’s national security adviser, Yaakov Amidror, telling Israel Radio: “I’m very happy that they are opening discussions. There will be no one happier than us, and the prime minister said this in his own voice, if it emerges that in these talks Iran will give up on its military nuclear capability.”
Meanwhile on Wednesday, CNN reported that satellite images showed trucks and earth-moving vehicles at Parchin military base, which the IAEA suspects of being the location of Iran’s research on nuclear weapons triggers. The images are sparking concern that Iran is trying to whitewash its facilities ahead of a potential visit by international inspectors.