Reported comments by a defence official saying that it was increasingly likely Israel would attack Iran in the coming months have been criticised by the US state department.
If attacked, Iran would retaliate against Israel and the US, an unnamed senior defence official told ABC News.
Iran’s nuclear programme was nearing “red lines” that would trigger an Israeli offensive, the official said.
The anonymous comments have been dismissed as ill-informed and discourteous by Tom Caset, state department spokesman.
“It’s rather foolish of people who often have no clue what they’re talking about to assert things and not even have the courtesy to do so on the basis of their name”, he told reporters.
When Iran’s nuclear facility had produced enough enriched uranium to create an atomic weapon would be one of the red line, the defence official told ABC.
‘Window of vulnerability’
It could occur later this year reported ABC News, according to US and Israeli intelligence estimates.
“The red line is not when they get to that point, but before they get to that point”, the official was quoted as saying. “We are in the window of vulnerability.”
Though, as far as is known, Iran has not been producing weapons-grade enriched uranium at its Natanz nuclear facility, but rather low-enriched uranium which can be used for energy generation, point out other analysts.
Meanwhile, Iran keep on denying that its nuclear programme is anything other than a peaceful.
The other red line identified by the defence official was Iran’s purchase of Russia’s SA-20 air defence equipment.
Pentagon officials have refused to comment on the ABC story.