It is evident that neither Netanyahu nor President Obama is keen to undo the logjam over Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program through negotiations. On the very day Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi announced that the head of the UN nuclear watchdog, Yukiya Amano, will visit Iran to discuss the dimensions of Tehran's nuclear program, Al Jazeera TV channel reported Israeli military's plans to carry out another set of military exercises near the city of Eilat. According to the TV channel, exercises should reveal readiness of the Israeli army for military operations not in Lebanon only, but on two fronts in the event an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities is decided. Earlier, on Sept. 19, Israel held military exercises in the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights.
On Oct. 10, the Jerusalem Post, citing an Israeli army insider, said the United States and Israel are scheduled on Oct. 21 to begin their biggest-ever bilateral ballistic missile defense exercise. The three-week Austere Challenge 12 drill was delayed from an earlier scheduled date in the spring, over concerns it would further exacerbate the troubles with Iran. U.S. military personnel are anticipated on Oct. 14 to start entering Israel, where they will begin preparing air defense systems on land and on U.S. warships floating near the small Middle Eastern nation.
These developments have not gone unnoticed in Moscow, of course, where Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned on Wednesday that the use of force against Tehran would spell the end of the negotiating process on Iran's nuclear program. "Time and again we hear threats that if there is no progress on Iran's nuclear program only one option will remain — the use of force. We hope that will never happen," he told the Russian media.
"This is a straight path to undermining the efforts to resolve all outstanding issues," Lavrov added.