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Iran, George W and Israel's advice......

What is the connection between Iran, Bush and Israel?

First, this, in the last hours, from NY Times:

"In a confrontation in the strategically important Strait of Hormuz on Sunday, five Iranian fastboats took aggressive actions around three United States naval vessels, a Pentagon spokesman said Monday, calling the brief standoff “reckless and dangerous.”

The incident, which lasted about 20 minutes and ended uneventfully, took place in international waters, according to the spokesman, Bryan Whitman. The American vessels were a destroyer, a frigate and a cruiser.

The Iranian government downplayed the episode, saying that it ended immediately when the vessels recognized one another."

So, there is said to have been some sabre-rattling in a critical area in the Middle East - the pass through which oil passes to the West. Assuming this all to be true and not a beat-up- one needs to be cynical giving the timing of what is alleged - more troubling is what the Times On Line reports on what the Israelis will be telling George W when he visits Israel:

"Israeli security officials are to brief President George W Bush on their latest intelligence about Iran’s nuclear programme - and how it could be destroyed - when he begins a tour of the Middle East in Jerusalem this week.

Ehud Barak, the defence minister, is said to want to convince him that an Israeli military strike against uranium enrichment facilities in Iran would be feasible if diplomatic efforts failed to halt nuclear operations. A range of military options has been prepared.

Last month it was revealed that the US National Intelligence Estimate report, drawing together information from 16 agencies, had concluded that Iran stopped a secret nuclear weapon programme in 2003.

Israeli intelligence is understood to agree that the project was halted around the time of America’s invasion of Iraq, but has “rock solid” information that it has since started up again.

While security officials are reluctant to reveal all their intelligence, fearing that leaks could jeopardise the element of surprise in any future attack, they are expected to present the president with fresh details of Iran’s enrichment of uranium - which could be used for civil or military purposes - and the development of missiles that could carry nuclear warheads.

In an interview with the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot this weekend, Bush argued that in spite of the US intelligence assessment, Iran still posed a threat.

“I read the intelligence report carefully,” Bush said. “In essence, what the report said was that Iran had a secret plan to develop nuclear weapons.

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