Israel Envoy to U.S.: We Have No Plans to Strike Iran

Yesterday Israel's ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, rejected recent assessments that Israel was planning an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.

In an interview with Fareed Zakaria on CNN, Oren was asked about several reports suggesting that Israel was planning to strike Iran's facilities to prevent the Islamic Republic from obtaining nuclear weapons, although Iran insists its nuclear program has only peaceful goals. Zakaria said that John Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, had gone as far as to say that he believed Israel was likely to attack Iran by the end of this year.

"I don't think it's true. I think that we are far from even contemplating such things right now," Oren said in response. "The government of Israel has supported President [Barack] Obama in his approach to Iran - the engagement, the outreach to Iran."

Zakaria questioned Oren's statement, saying, "You're just saying this, Michael. It is well known that the government of Israel is deeply uncomfortable and nervous about the idea of engagement with Iran."

Oren dismissed his interviewer's comment, and said: "We were, but we were greatly comforted during the prime minister [Benjamin Netanyahu's] visit here [in the U.S.] in May, when the president told him, assured him, that there would be a serious reassessment of the policy before the end of the year. We are further reassured now that the end of the year deadline has been moved up to September. We are comforted by the fact that the administration in the aftermath of recent events in Iran has exhibited greater willingness to consider formulating a package of serious sanctions against Iran even now, in advance of the reassessment."

According to the envoy, Iran is also involved in stirring up tensions in the Palestinian arena. Oren said that Gaza was ruled by a terror organization supported by Iran, and that it was committed not only to the destruction of Israel, but also to undermining Fatah rule in the West Bank.