US Warns Iran: Last Chance To Avoid Military Option
The United States asked Russia to send Iran a message that the upcoming round of nuclear talks is its last chance to avoid a military confrontation this year, Russian newspaper Kommersant reported Wednesday according to a diplomatic source.
The unusually stark warning by the US was passed on by Secretary of State Hilary Clinton to her Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, after the two met in New York on Monday, the diplomatic source told the Russian newspaper.
The source said pressure from Jerusalem on Washington was forcing the latter to support a military option within the year in order to stop Tehran from developing a nuclear bomb.
"The invasion will happen before the year's end," the source told Kommersant. "The Israelis are, in effect, blackmailing Obama: either he supports the war, or he risks losing the support of the Jewish lobby" the year of US presidential elections.
Israel and the US have said all options are on the table for dealing with Iran's nuclear program, though both countries have highlighted the importance of seeking a diplomatic solution before any military option is considered.
Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, though diplomats in the UN's nuclear watchdog say recent intelligence indicates otherwise.
On Tuesday, Iran rejected claims that it was attempting to clean up radioactive traces possibly left over from covert nuclear work at its Parachin military site.
The P5+1 - a group of Iran mediators that includes the permanent UN Security Council members and Germany - received a letter earlier this month from Tehran which indicated that Iran sought to resume international discussions at the earliest opportunity.
The diplomatic source said talks between Tehran and the international group will take place in April, when the P5+1 wants Iran to clarify details surrounding its nuclear program.
The US wants Tehran to understand that these talks represent the Islamic Republic's last chance to avoid a military confrontation with the West over its nuclear program, according to the report.