It's a given that Israel will not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons. Today, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suggested that the moment of reckoning may be at hand.
In an interview with Jennifer Griffin of Fox News Channel, Mr. Sharon noted that "Iran is at the point of no return...threats of international sanctions must be issued." Sharon also indicated that Iran has only a few more "technical obstacles to overcome" in acquiring the expertise needed to develop nuclear weapons.
In the past, a number of Israeli leaders have stated that Iran will not be allowed to reach the point of no return. But they've been unusually vague in saying when that point might be reached. Previously, some Israeli officials suggested that Iran wouldn't have the know-how to build a nuclear bomb for several years.
Iran's nuclear program was a major topic of discussion in the recent meeting between Sharon and President Bush. During their conversations, the Israeli Prime Minister reportedly urged Mr. Bush to take the lead on Iran, and not wait on European diplomatic efforts. The implication is clear; if no one else acts, Israel is prepared to use military action--probably air strikes--against Iran's nuclear facilities.
It's not a line in the sand, but Israel's patience is clearly wearing thin. And that puts the U.S. in a very difficult position. Our leverage with Tehran is virtually non-existent, and European diplomacy apparently can't deliver a solution that's acceptable to Israel. If we can't find a workable solution in the coming months, the Israeli Air Force will be heading east, and possibly very soon.