Obama Mulls Declaring the 'Red Lines' That Would Trigger U.S. Attack on Iran

The U.S. is considering a range of steps to prevent Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear program, ranging from covert action to public statements.

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Barak Ravid
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ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

U.S. President Barack Obama is considering making declarations regarding the United States' "red lines" that if crossed, may bring about an American attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, the New York Times reported on Monday.

According to the report, Obama is mulling a series of overt and covert actions with the goal of helping Israel save face and convince Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to hold off on an attack on Iran's nuclear program.

The New York Times article, written by two of the paper's senior correspondents Eric Schmitt and David E. Sanger, reported that the White House is currently holding an internal debate on how specific the public warning to Iran should be.

Some of Obama's advisers think Israel requires a public commitment by Washington to hold a military strike on Iran, said the report. On the other hand, other advisers argue that Israel is trying to corner Obama to make such a commitment when it is really not needed.

In recent weeks, a series of former senior Israelis security officials, such as former head of military intelligence Amos Yadlin and former head of the National Security Council, calling on the American president to publicly announce his commitment to stop the Iranian nuclear program. In an article published in the U.S. media, Yadlin went as far as suggesting that Obama hold a speech in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, and announce that if Iran advances toward a nuclear weapons program the United States would use military force to stop it.

The New York Times report also claimed that Obama is considering renewing U.S. covert activity to sabotage the Iranian program and thus postpone it. According to the report, this would include activities such as the Stuxnet virus that was installed in the computers of the Iranian nuclear facilities and disrupted the centrifuge operating systems.

In addition, the U.S. is taking a series of military actions in the Persian Gulf including the deployment of a powerful radar system in Qatar able to detect a rocket launch in Iran. The system is identical to the radar systems that have already been deployed in Israel and Turkey in the past few years. These radar systems serve to signal Iran that if it chooses to launch rockets, they may very well be intercepted.

The U.S. is also holding two large scale military exercises during September and October; a missile defense drill in Israel and the largest-ever minesweeping exercise in the Persian Gulf, aimed at signaling Iran that it will not be able to close the Straits of Hormuz.

President Barack Obama pauses during an interview with The Associated Press at the White House, Aug. 23, 2012, in Washington.Credit: AP



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