Friday, June 20, 2008

Israel's Drill May Curb Iran Nuclear Effort, U.S. Official Says

By Ken Fireman, Janine Zacharia and Tony Capaccio

June 21 (Bloomberg) -- An Israeli military exercise interpreted as a rehearsal for a strike on Iran will bolster a diplomatic drive to curb its nuclear program, a senior U.S. official said.

The American official, who spoke on condition he not be identified, said the June 2 drill by Israeli warplanes wasn't initiated or authorized by the U.S., which also didn't voice opposition after it was disclosed yesterday.

``We are clearly in a situation where the Israelis and United States are trying to bolster diplomacy but indicating there are other options,'' said Michael Eisenstadt, a defense analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

The U.S. official said the drill may increase pressure on Iranian leaders to meet United Nations demands for a suspension of uranium enrichment. Eisenstadt and other analysts agreed with that assessment

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