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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told officials in a closed meeting that he prefers the U.S. “do the work” in a potential strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, Barak Ravid of Haaretz reports. Based on unnamed officials who attended the meeting, Ravid reports Netanyahu admitted that the U.S. is not prepared to pursue a military option at this point.
Netanyahu knows that Israel doesn’t have the bombs to penetrate Iran’s underground bunkers as it only has at least 55 of the 5,000 lb GBU-28 bunker-busting bombs.
Any attack would require Massive Ordnance Penetrators (MOP) – 30,000 lb bombs that can crash through 60 feet of reinforced concrete and detonate up to 200 feet below ground – which the U.S. announced were ready for action last week.
President Barack Obama reportedly offered Netanyahu bunker-busters and refueling planes in March in exchange for an agreement to postpone an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities until 2013, but Netanyahu feels the window of opportunity is rapidly closing.
Netanyahu reportedly said he would accept responsibility for any fallout after a U.S. attack, saying “the Israeli home front will be hit with ricochets no matter what happens.”
At one point during the meeting, a participant asked Netanyahu what he thinks could possibly happen the day after an Israeli strike on Iran. According to one official present at the meeting, the question angered Netanyahu. “If an investigative committee is formed, I’ll go and say that I, I am responsible,” said Netanyahu, as he pounded the table, and his chest, with his fist.
Netanyahu reportedly detailed the following criteria for a U.S.-led strike: Iran enriching uranium to 90 per cent (instead of 20), an Iranian attack on American interests in the Persian gulf, or a massive Iranian attack against Israel.
Some officials present at the meeting told Ravid that Netanyahu’s comments seemed to be part of a “psychological warfare” campaign of Netanyahu and defence Minister Ehud Barak to pressure the U.S. into attacking Iran itself.
The Prime Minister’s Office responded to that report by saying, “We do not comment on issues discussed in closed meetings, including when the quotes from them are inaccurate.”