Israel is increasingly likely to attack Iranian nuclear facilities this year, a U.S. Defense Department official told ABC News.
Iran’s government dismissed as propaganda the ABC report on the unidentified Pentagon official’s comments. Israeli government officials declined to comment on the report.
In the U.S., Pentagon spokesmen Bryan Whitman declined to address the report. “I don’t comment for Israel,” he said. State Department spokesman Tom Casey said he had “no information that would substantiate” the ABC report and criticized the official for not speaking publicly.
An Israeli strike might be triggered by the production of enough enriched uranium at Iran’s Natanz nuclear plant to make a bomb, ABC cited the official as saying. A second possible trigger would be the delivery of a Russian SA-20 air-defense system, the installation of which would make an Israeli attack more difficult, the U.S. official told ABC.
Oil rose on concern any conflict would cut supplies from OPEC’s second-largest producer. Crude oil for August delivery increased as much as $2.95, or 2.1 percent, to $142.95 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Former Israeli Air Force General Isaac Ben-Israel, now a lawmaker in Israel’s ruling Kadima party, told Germany’s Spiegel that his nation is “prepared” for an attack if diplomacy and United Nations sanctions fail to stop Iran from making a nuclear weapon. Ben-Israel helped plan Israel’s 1981 strike on an Iraqi nuclear reactor, the magazine said.