The Washington Post on Friday predicted that Israel would attack Iran in the first half of this year, after a columnist reported a day earlier that US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta believed that ‘there was a strong likelihood’ that Israel would attack Iran in April. The excuse is to stop Iran’s nuclear programme, which Israel sees as a threat because of its anti-Israeli rhetoric. The USA, using its anti-proliferation rhetoric, continues to accord extraordinary attention to Iran, presumeably on behalf of the Israelis. It is a further irony that it opposes Iran obtaining nuclear technology for energy, but has nothing to say about Israel's nuclear weaponisation plans. This raises the spectre of a nuclear attack on Iranian installations, because the Israeli aim would be to prevent Iran developing a nuclear weapon capability. Already, four Iranian nuclear scientists have been assassinated since October. These assassinations are accepted to be the work of Israeli intelligence. This shows not just how reprehensible Israeli methods are, but also how deeply it feels threatened by Iran’s nuclear programme. Even though that programme is repeatedly defined as peaceful by the Iranians, the USA's fears remain unassuaged, most likely due to Israeli whispers.

Iran has replied, with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei weighing in during his televised sermon, delivered as he led the Friday payers in Tehran. He said that Iran had its ‘own threats’ to respond to any military attack or sanctions against their oil exports. The US is already waging a war identified by its occupation of two predominantly Muslim countries. It will certainly win no more friends in the Muslim world if it makes the mistake of attacking yet another Muslim country, especially when it is seen as doing so on behalf of Israel. The war on terror has also caused questions to be raised both at home and abroad, and whereas it would not initially be an American war, ultimately, if Israel attacks, it is virtually impossible to see a situation in which the USA does not join in. A region already suffering from massive disruptions and insecurity, would only be further threatened should aggressive action be taken against Iran. Can the US afford a war between Israel and Iran in an election year? And can the world in general afford another full-blown war?