As the debate rages over whether or not Iran is actively working toward dangerous nuclear capabilities, and how far it might be from actually creating a bomb, one thing remains clear: Israel considers Iran’s nuclear enrichment program a serious personal threat and continues to rattle its saber in warning of an eventual strike against its antagonistic neighbor.
On March 1 Israel announced that it plans to test out its Arrow 3 anti-ballistic missile system designed to intercept incoming missiles from such enemies as Iran and Syria, its other neighboring enemy. The UK’s Guardian newspaper reported that the “unusual advance notification of the test follows an unannounced test in November of a long-range ballistic missile which intensified speculation that Israel was preparing for a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.”
The New York Times said that Israel’s departure from its typical top-secret approach to testing “is meant, at least in part, to avoid misunderstandings by other countries in the region and by Israelis themselves in the current highly charged atmosphere surrounding Iran’s nuclear program. Israel has repeatedly stated that it will not allow Iran to reach nuclear weapons capacity and that it retains the option of a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities as a last resort.” The Arrow 3 system would provide crucial protection against a retaliatory missile strike from Iran should Israel launch a promised attack against Iran’s program of uranium enrichment, which it argues is a precursor to Iran’s eventual production of a nuclear device.
The announcement came as Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (pictured) was heading to the United States for meetings with President Obama, during which he is expected to press for a military commitment from the United States against Iran should the “diplomacy and sanctions” strategy the President has said he prefers ultimately fail.
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