BEIRUT

Middle East

Israeli strike on Iran may wreck Arab treaties: U.S.

Israeli soldiers travel atop a mobile artillery unit during a drill near the northern city of Katzrin in the Golan Heights September 19, 2012. (REUTERS/Baz Ratner)

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Egypt and Jordan could annul their peace treaties with Israel if it carries out a preemptive strike against Iran, U.S. officials have warned the Jewish state, an Israeli newspaper reported Thursday.

Quoting a high-level Israeli official, Yediot Aharonot said Washington had warned the Jewish state that Arab leaders would not be able to control an angry public backlash if Israel were to mount an attack on Iran.

The newspaper said the US official pointed to the violent response in several Middle Eastern countries to a film insulting Islam, saying: "Today the Arab leaders do not control their peoples, the streets control the leaders.

"An Israeli strike is just what the Iranians need. The entire Arab and Muslim street will take to the streets to demonstrate," the official said.

"What happened with the film against Mohammed is just a preview of what will happen in case of an Israeli strike," he said, referring to the unrest which has spread across the Muslim world, which has so far left more than 30 people dead.

The official said that Egypt and Jordan, the only Arab countries that have signed peace treaties with Israel, would face enormous pressure to annul the accords if Iran's nuclear facilities were attacked.

Israel, the Middle East's sole if undeclared nuclear power, has said it cannot rule out preemptive military action against Iran's nuclear facilities.

Israel and much of the international community believes that Iran's nuclear program masks a weapons drive, a charge denied by Tehran.

Washington has backed tough sanctions against Iran but has publicly differed with Israel over the timetable for any possible military action on its nuclear facilities.

 

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