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Israeli Official Says Military Action Against Iran 'Still on Table'

Last ditch effort to undermine talks slammed as 'desperate and reckless'

Israeli Minister of Intelligence Yuval Steinitz. (Photo: DFATD-MAECD/cc/flickr)

In a last ditch effort to undercut a framework agreement between world powers and Iran, a top aide to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed on Monday that, regardless of the diplomatic process, military action against Iran is "still on the table."

Yuval Steinitz, Likud Party minister for strategic affairs, told reporters that Israel is still unilaterally weighing the "military option."

"It was on the table. It's still on the table. It's going to remain on the table," said Steinitz. "Israel should be able to defend itself, by itself, against any threat. And it's our right and duty to decide how to defend ourselves, especially if our national security and even very existence is under threat."

"We are going to make an additional effort to convince the U.S. administration, Congress, Britain, France and Russia not to sign this bad deal, or at least to dramatically change and fix it," added Steinitz.

Netanyahu's administration, along with hardline allies in U.S. Congress, has vigorously opposed the ongoing nuclear talks between Iran and the five members of the United Nations Security Council (U.S., Russia, China, United Kingdom, and France) plus Germany.

Advocates of the nuclear talks—from the administration of President Barack Obama to grassroots civil society organizations—say that the push to undermine the diplomatic process, ultimately, amounts to a call for dangerous military escalation and potentially war.

Leading nuclear non-proliferation specialists, meanwhile, released a statement on Monday championing the framework agreement as a "vitally important step forward."

Jamal Abdi, policy director for the National Iranian American Council, told Common Dreams, "The notion that the military option is still on the table, first of all, ignores the fact that any military option makes an Iranian nuclear weapon far more likely, not less likely. Anybody talking about military action is being disingenuous or just desperate and reckless."

"Some of our own members of the U.S. Senate are goading Israelis to say things like this," Abdi added. "Hopefully these people don't do more and more crazy things to sabotage the more desperate they get."

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