Israel and Saudi Arabia are working on a secret plan on a possible attack on Iran in case talks in Geneva fail to wind down Tehran’s atomic programme, British newspaper The Sunday Times reported.
If true, the forging security relationship between Tel Aviv and Riyadh — for decades at loggerheads over the Palestinian issue — would emerge as the first visible strategic fallout triggered by prospects of an easing of tensions between the United States and Iran.
Iran and P5+1 (UNSC permanent members + Germany) narrowly missed signing a nuclear deal in Geneva earlier this month. Iran has blamed France for scuttling the agreement, with media reports emerging from Tehran attributing the move to the influence of the Israeli lobby and close ties between Paris and the Gulf Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia. Iran and P5+1 are to meet again on November 20 in Geneva.
The Times quoted a diplomatic source as saying Saudi Arabia has given its consent to Israel for using its airspace also offering to assist the Israeli assault through the use of drones, rescue helicopters and tanker planes. “Once the Geneva agreement is signed, the military option will be back on the table. The Saudis are furious and are willing to give Israel all the help it needs,” the Times quoted the source as saying.
Meanwhile, French President Francois Hollande arrived in Tel Aviv on Sunday to a rousing welcome. He said France would oppose the lifting of sanctions unless convinced that Tehran was not developing nuclear weapons. He added that not only would a nuclear Iran threaten Israel, it would also endanger West Asia as well as the world at large.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — the most vocal critic of the proposed deal — flies to Moscow on Wednesday, to persuade the Russians against backing the agreement. John Kerry, Secretary of State of the United States, is arriving yet again in Israel on November 22 to soothe frayed nerves in Tel Aviv .