World Bulletin / News Desk
The United States has indirectly informed Iran, via two European nations, that it would not back an Israeli strike against the country's nuclear facilities, as long as Tehran refrains from retaliating American interests in the Persian Gulf, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Monday.
Nuclear-armed Israel that most experts estimate that it has at least between 100 and 200 nuclear warheads and often threatens the Islamic republic with an attack.
According to the report, Washington used covert back-channels in Europe to clarify that the US does not intend to back Israel in a strike that may spark a regional conflict.
In return, Washington reportedly expects Iran to steer clear of strategic American assets in the Persian Gulf, such as military bases and aircraft carriers.
An Israeli official, who asked not to be identified, described the report as illogical.
"It doesn't make sense," the official said. "There would be no need to make such a promise to the Iranians because they realise the last thing they need is to attack U.S. targets and draw massive U.S. bombing raids."
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment over the Israeli newspaper story, which appeared during the Labor Day holiday.
General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was quoted in Britain's Guardian newspaper as saying of a prospective Israeli attack on Iran: "I don't want to be complicit if they choose to do it."