Bush saved Iran from Israel’s counter-nuke strike – report

AFP Photo / Amos Ben Gershom
Israel asked George W. Bush for his blessing of an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities during his visit to the Jewish state this May, reports the Guardian, but the U.S. leader rejected the move and said his position won’

The British newspaper cited unnamed European sources in its report.

Bush’s refusal to support an attack on Iran had two main reasons, the report says. One is that Teheran was likely to retaliate both against Israel and the U.S. American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan would be the most obvious targets. There was also possibility of terror strikes on U.S. soil, probably carried out by Hezbollah supporters living among the Lebanese diaspora in Canada. Safety of shipping in the Persian Gulf would be in peril as well.

Secondly, Iran’s nuclear facilities are dispersed over the country and well fortified, which would make it difficult to destroy them all in one massive strike as was the case with Israel’s attacks on Iraq’s reactor at Osirak in 1981 or the bombing of Syrian alleged nuclear plant last September. A lasting military operation was almost certain to escalate into a full-scale war.

And even if Israel decided to launch an attack without the U.S. green light, its planes would have been detected long before they crossed Iranian border, and thus there would be time to demand chancel their mission. Teheran would not believe such an attack was not sanctioned by Washington, even if was not the case and would be inclined to use force against American targets.

The newspaper argues Bush’s no to Israel’s plans goes against some analysts who believe the Bush administration may use the tensions over Iran’s controversial nuclear programme to provoke a major security crisis and thus help Republican candidate John McCain in the upcoming presidential poll in the U.S.