Israeli prime minister said to favor Iran attack

JERUSALEM — An Israeli official said Wednesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to persuade his Cabinet to authorize a military strike against Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program — a discussion that comes as Israel successfully tested a missile thought to be capable of carrying a nuclear warhead to Iran.

It remained unclear whether Israel was genuinely poised to strike or if it was saber-rattling to prod the international community into taking a tougher line on Iran. Israeli leaders have long hinted at a military option, but they always seemed mindful of the practical difficulties, the likelihood of a furious counterstrike and the risk of regional mayhem.

The developments unfolded as the International Atomic Energy Agency is due to focus on the Iranian program at a meeting this month. The West wants to set a deadline for Iran to start cooperating with an agency investigation of suspicions that Tehran is secretly experimenting with components of a weapons program.

Israeli leaders have said they favor a diplomatic solution, but recent days have seen a spate of Israeli media reports on a possible strike, accompanied by veiled threats from top politicians.

In a speech this week, Netanyahu said a nuclear-armed Iran would pose a "dire threat" to the world and "a grave, direct threat on us, too."

His foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, was dismissive of the reports but added: "We are keeping all the options on the table."

Israeli prime minister said to favor Iran attack 11/02/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 2, 2011 11:34pm]

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