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The Obama administration gave Russia permission to deliver the fuel rods for Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactor in return for their support for U.N. sanctions. The Russians have announced they will begin the process on August 21 and Iran will begin operating the reactor in mid-September. In making this concession to Russia, the U.S. is forcing Israel to decide within one week if they will bomb the site before it is impossible to do so because of the radioactive fallout it would cause.
Former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton is warning that Israel must immediately decide between accepting a nuclear weapons-capable Iran or a military strike. He noted that in Israel’s previous strikes on Iraqi and Syrian nuclear reactors, action was taken before the insertion of the fuel rods. Bolton’s statement comes as Jeffrey Goldberg writes in The Atlantic that most officials he spoke to felt there was a better than 50 percent chance that Israel would bomb Iran’s nuclear sites by next July. This follows claims by an anonymous senior Egyptian security official that his country had taken measures with the expectation that Israel could attack Iran as early as July.
The Israelis began deploying three nuclear-armed submarines to the Gulf as summer began. They have also unveiled a fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles that can fly for an entire day, permitting them to reach Iran. It was not said whether the aircraft can carry the ordinance necessary to destroy Iran’s nuclear sites but they were clearly shown with Iran in mind.
Sunni Arab regimes traditionally hostile to Israel have embraced the Jewish state as the only one able and willing to save them from a nuclear Iran and are silently supporting a potential campaign. The blunt statement by the ambassador from the United Arab Emirates that his country would support military action against Iran if necessary is an indication that the anti-Iran Arab bloc feels the window is closing. The Saudis, who have reportedly offered Israel its airspace to carry out a strike, have simulated the turning down of its defenses in such an event.
The Iranians are claiming that they have acquired four S-300 air defense systems that would complicate an Israeli strike, a move obviously meant to coincide with the announcement about Bushehr. At the same time, Russia has installed the S-300 in the Abkhazia region it has controlled since going to war with Georgia in 2008. The Israeli intelligence website Debkafile says the system was set up to block a potential northern route for a U.S. or Israeli strike on Iran. Russia, China and Turkey have also decided to sell gasoline to Iran just as the regime began seriously suffering from a shortage and the effects of international sanctions.
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