Analysis

Canada/Israel/Iran: Conflicting Signs of Israeli Airstrike Intentions
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Vladivostok September 9, 2012. (SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)
September 10, 2012
| Security
| Middle East and North Africa
Summary
Although Canada’s surprise September 7 decision to break diplomatic relations with Iran has led some to speculate that Ottawa believes an Israeli airstrike on Iranian nuclear facilities is likely this fall, other reports suggest the Israeli government is backing away from a possible attack. LIGNET doubts these developments shed much light on the thinking of senior Israeli officials on how to deal with the threat from Iran and will not affect the status quo.

Canada’s decision to close its embassy in Tehran and give Iranian diplomats five days to leave Canada came amid press reports that Israeli officials could be backing away from Iranian airstrikes and will not attack Iran this year if President Barack Obama sets “red lines” for Iran’s nuclear program that would trigger a U.S. military response. There also have been recent reported statements by an unnamed source close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that an Israeli attack on Iran is becoming “less and less likely.” Meanwhile, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz today reported conflicting claims as to whether Israeli Defense Ehud Barack has changed his mind on a possible Israeli airstrike.

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