Plans to strike Iran "ready," says U.S. Israel envoy

JERUSALEM Thu May 17, 2012 6:51am EDT

U.S ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro (L) listens to an Israeli army colonel as they stand next to a launcher, part of the Iron Dome rocket shield system in a field near the southern city of Ashkelon August 9, 2011. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

U.S ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro (L) listens to an Israeli army colonel as they stand next to a launcher, part of the Iron Dome rocket shield system in a field near the southern city of Ashkelon August 9, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Amir Cohen

Related Topics

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - U.S. plans for a possible military strike on Iran are ready and the option is "fully available", the U.S. ambassador to Israel said, days before Tehran resumes talks with world powers which suspect it of seeking to develop nuclear arms.

Like Israel, the United States has said it considers military force a last resort to prevent Iran using its uranium enrichment to make a bomb. Iran insists its nuclear program is for purely civilian purposes.

"It would be preferable to resolve this diplomatically and through the use of pressure than to use military force," Ambassador Dan Shapiro said in remarks about Iran aired by Israel's Army Radio on Thursday.

"But that doesn't mean that option is not fully available - not just available, but it's ready. The necessary planning has been done to ensure that it's ready," said Shapiro, who the radio station said had spoken on Tuesday.

The United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany have been using sanctions and negotiations to try to persuade Iran to curb its uranium enrichment, which can produce fuel for reactors, medical isotopes, and, at higher levels of purification, fissile material for warheads.

New talks opened in Istanbul last month and resume on May 23 in Baghdad.

Israel, which is widely assumed to have the Middle East's only atomic arsenal, feels threatened by the prospect of its arch-foe Iran going nuclear and has hinted it could launch preemptive war.

But many analysts believe the United States alone has the military clout to do lasting damage to Iran's nuclear program.

In January, Shapiro told an Israeli newspaper the United States was "guaranteeing that the military option is ready and available to the president at the moment he decides to use it".

U.S. lawmakers are considering additional legislation that would increase pressure on Iran, with further measures to punish foreign companies for dealing with Iran in any capacity.

(Writing by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Andrew Roche)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (50)
fromthecenter wrote:
that’s a nice way to kick another round of talks isnt it. Seems to me just like Israel doesnt want a 2 state solution, they also want a war with IRAN. OF course, the US will do the fighting and dying and spend another trillion dollars.

May 17, 2012 3:17am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Ebars wrote:
Yeah, let’s totally remove all the burden from brutal, extremist regimes like Iran and put it on the West. Iran and their BFF Syria are doing great, and they clearly are on the road to prosperity!

May 17, 2012 3:42am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Dhirajkunar wrote:
This entire issue of Israel and USA planning a strike is the world’s biggest joke in the modern world. Both have lost credibility ranting the same war issue from the past twenty years. Nobody will take them seriously anymore. How unashamed these guys are !

May 17, 2012 4:00am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.