Daily Israel Report

Mofaz Leads Defense Delegation to US To Discuss Iranian Threat

The delegation is to hold a series of talks with American officials on Iran's nuclear potential and the possibility of negotiations with Syria.
By Nissan Ratzlav-Katz
First Publish: 6/5/2007, 11:43 AM

Transportation Minister Sha'ul Mofaz, who has served as the IDF Chief of Staff and as Defense Minister, is heading a defense delegation to the United States Tuesday. The
US President George Bush has no intention to carry out a military strike against Iran.
delegation is slated to hold a series of talks with American officials on Iran's nuclear weapons potential and the possibility of Israeli negotiations with Syria.

The planned marathon of meetings comes on the heels of information reaching Israel to the effect that US President George Bush has no intention to carry out a military strike against Iran. Israel is seeking to clarify the matter, particularly in light of continuing virulent anti-Israel statements by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his declared intention to ignore international demands that Iran freeze its nuclear program.

The head of the United Nation's Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed El-Baradei, stated earlier this month that there is no way to effectively limit Iran's nuclear program by means of diplomacy alone. The Iranians, he explained, are increasing their uranium enrichment and blocking access to international inspectors. At an anti-proliferation conference last week, El-Baradei suggested that Iran could develop nuclear weapons within three to eight years.

After an explosion at Iran's Natanz nuclear facility that destroyed 50 centrifuges, Iranian Vice-President Gholamreza Aghazadeh said that some equipment had been "manipulated," intimating foreign involvement. A CBS news report claimed that US intelligence agents are attempting to sabotage Iran's nuclear development by supplying it with faulty components.

The delegation would raise "the need to examine Syria's intentions."

In addition to the matter of Iran's nuclearization, Mofaz is to discuss with US officials the possibility of Israeli negotiations with Syria. An aide to the Transportation Minister said that the delegation would raise "the need to examine Syria's intentions" regarding Israel and regional peace efforts, especially in light of last year's war against Hizbullah terrorists in Lebanon.

Last month, US Ambassador to Israel Richard Jones said that Israel and the United States have agreed not to surprise one another regarding talks with Syria. Jones said that if Israeli leaders reached such a decision, "They'll tell us about it and we'll talk." Several months ago, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stated that he was "examining" the seriousness of Syrian offers to negotiate.