With an International Atomic Energy Agency report to be issued this week that will state, officials said Wednesday, that Iran is clearly working towards developing a nuclear weapons program, speculation has turned to possible military actions by Israel or other western countries to prevent Tehran from getting “the bomb.”
On Thursday, the British Daily Mail newspaper said that an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities could come as soon as December 25, the day the Christian world celebrates Christmas.
The paper quoted a senior Foreign Office official as saying that “‘We’re expecting something as early as Christmas, or very early in the new year.” Israel, the official said, would not wait for Western approval for such an attack, if it felt that Iran was truly at the point of no return.
The officials said that the U.S. would most likely support Israel, given that President Barack H. Obama is desperate not to lose Jewish support in next year's presidential election.
Reports last week said that the U.S. was gearing up its own plans to militarily halt Iran's nuclear program, and that Britain was cooperating. The Foreign Office official did not confirm that report in his remarks Thursday, but did say that “of course we are not in favor of Iran developing a bomb.”
With that, he said, Britain did not believe that Iran would use a bomb, even if they did develop a one. “The bigger concern is it will be impossible to stop Saudi Arabia and Turkey from developing their own weapons,” the source added.
A Christmas attack by Israel would be reminiscent of the famous Battle of Trenton during the Revolutionary War, a turning point for the colonies of what is now the United States in achieving independence from their British overlords.
George Washington, along with rebel troops, crossed the Delaware River to stage a surprise attack on Royalist soldiers in Trenton, New Jersey, on December 25, 1776. The Americans captured 1,000 prisoners of war, killed 22 Royalist troops and injured 98. Only three Americans were killed in the battle.
Considering that Iran does not celebrate Christmas, however, it was unclear why that date would be preferred by Israel for an attack against the Shi'ite Muslim country, and the Daily Mail story did not address this point.