The Guardian, citing senior European diplomatic sources, reported today that President Bush warned then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that he would not support an Israel attack against Iran during their one-on-one meeting on May 14. The sources believed that President Bush feared retaliation by Iran and Hezbollah.
Earlier in the month, it was reported that the United States had turned down a specific security aid package requested by the Israeli government, which included a large number of bunker-buster bombs and an air corridor over Iraq to attack Iran. The US eventually did sell the bunker-buster bombs to Israel, but reportedly told the Israeli government that access to Iraqi airspace would have to be obtained from Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a virtual impossibility since the two countries are still technically in a state of war and have no official diplomatic relations.
Israeli officials have often threatened to attack Iran, citing the Iranian civilian nuclear program and the conviction that somewhere along the line Iran “probably since revived” its alleged past efforts to construct nuclear weapons.
The tensions with Iran have once again been brought to the fore by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech to the United Nations on Tuesday. In the speech, the President railed against “Zionist murderers,” whom he accused of manipulating the West. He also predicted that Israel was “on a definite slope to collapse,” and that America’s “empire in the world is reaching the end of its road.”
In response to the speech, Israeli President Shimon Peres told Israel Radio that the United States has no choice but to save the world by stopping the Iranian president. In comments mirroring those of President Ahmadinejad, President Peres insisted he had no enmity towards the Iranian people, but rather toward “their fanatic leadership.” The United States reassured Israel recently that it was still keeping open the option of attacking Iran itself.