Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Israel Urges Powers to Label Nuclear Talks as Failed

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Israel Urges Powers to Label Nuclear Talks as Failed

Article excerpt

Amid reports that Israel is close to ordering a strike against the Iranian nuclear program, its deputy foreign minister sought a declaration from countries in negotiations with Iran.

Amid intensifying Israeli news reports saying that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is close to ordering a military strike against the Iranian nuclear program, his deputy foreign minister has called for an international declaration that the diplomatic effort to halt Tehran's enrichment of uranium is dead.

Referring to the Iran negotiations led by the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, the minister, Danny Ayalon, told Israel Radio on Sunday that those nations should "declare today that the talks have failed."

After such a declaration, if the Iranians do not halt their nuclear program, "it will be clear that all options are on the table," Mr. Ayalon said, not only for Israel but also for the United States and NATO.

Asked how long the Iranians should be given to cease all nuclear activity, Mr. Ayalon said, "Weeks, and not more than that."

The comments came after a frenzy of newspaper articles and television reports over the weekend here suggesting that Mr. Netanyahu had all but made the decision to attack Iran unilaterally this autumn.

The reports contained little new information, but the tone was significantly sharper than it had been in recent weeks; many leading Israeli columnists predicted a strike despite the opposition of the Obama administration and many military and security professionals within Israel.

Articles in the newspapers on Sunday also examined home-front preparedness for what experts expect would be an aggressive response not just from Iran but also its allies, the militant groups Hezbollah and Hamas.

"Lord help us, would you just do it already and be done with it?" wrote Ben Caspit, a columnist for the newspaper Maariv, referring to the Israeli leadership.

"When one looks around the impression received is that it isn't only in Israel that they aren't being taken seriously any longer, but the world refuses to get worked up over them either."

"Maybe they'll bomb Iran in the end just to prove that they're serious," Mr. …

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