“There is an ‘increasing likelihood’ that Israel will carry out such an attack, a move that likely would prompt Iranian retaliation against, not just Israel, but against the United States as well,” a senior Pentagon official was quoted as saying by the ABC television network.
The widely held view among Pentagon officials, it said, is that an Israeli attack would do only temporary damage to Iran’s nuclear programme but it would cause major problems in the region and beyond, prompting a wave of attacks on US interests in Iraq, the Persian Gulf and elsewhere.
The official, ABC News said, have identified two “red lines” that could trigger an Israeli offensive. The first is, when Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility produces enough highly enriched uranium to make a nuclear weapon. According to the latest US and Israeli intelligence assessments that is likely to happen sometime in 2009, and could happen by the end of this year, it added.