The United States has asked Russia to deliver an ultimatum to Iran, warning the Islamic Republic that it has one last chance for talks before a military strike, the Kommersant daily quoted Russian diplomats as saying on Wednesday.
According to the Russian newspaper, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asked her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in New York on Monday to tell Tehran that it has one last chance to solve the conflict peacefully by making progress in the talks with the P5+1 group - United States, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany. Otherwise, an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities will occur within months, the diplomats said.
The report in Kommersant did not give further details regarding the kind of military action the U.S. was threatening, but quoted Russian diplomats at the UN as saying they believe that it is a "matter of when, not if" Israel would strike Iran's nuclear facilities.
Last week, Clinton said that there is still space for diplomacy to resolve Iran's nuclear standoff with the West shortly after European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton announced that the P5+1 group agreed to restart talks with Iran. A time and venue of the talks has yet to be set.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a series of television interviews, said last week that an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities could take place within months.
"We're not standing with a stopwatch in hand," he said. "It's not a matter of days or weeks, but also not of years. The result must be removal of the threat of nuclear weapons in Iran's hands."
Netanyahu met with U.S. President Barack Obama last week and tried to pressure him to harden his tone on Iran.
Netanyahu told Obama that he had not yet made any decision about whether to attack Iran's nuclear facilities, though he made it clear he did not rule out such a move in the future. In statements to the press both before and after the meeting Netanyahu said Israel has the sovereign right to defend itself against Iran.
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