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April 14, 2021

WikiLeaks: Italy PM said ‘not even Obama can stop Israeli attack on Iran’

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi told U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates last February that no one could stop Israel from attacking Iran if it feels an existential threat, according to a classified cable released by WikiLeaks, Haaretz reported. The contents of the cable were published on Sunday in the German weekly Der Spiegel.

“No one, including [U.S. President Barack] Obama, can stop Israel if it feels an existential threat,” Berlusconi is reported to have said. Berlusconi concluded that Iran is secretly working to build a nuclear weapon. He also warned that, in a preemptive strike, Israel might use nuclear weapons.

Haaretz also reported, quoting Australian newspaper The Age, that WikiLeaks cables revealed Australian intelligence agencies feared that Israel may attack Iran and that such an attack could set off a nuclear war in the Middle East. The report said that Australian intelligence believed that Iran’s nuclear program was intended for deterrence and that viewing Iran as a rogue state would be a mistake.

‘’The AIC’s [Australian intelligence community’s] leading concerns with respect to Iran’s nuclear ambitions center on understanding the time frame of a possible weapons capability, and working with the United States to prevent Israel from independently launching uncoordinated military strikes against Iran,’’ a cable sent to Washington last March from the U.S. embassy in Canberra read.

Another leaked U.S. cable, this one from July 2008, showed that former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd was “deeply worried” that Iran’s intransigence on its disputed nuclear program meant that Israel might feel compelled to use “non-diplomatic” means.

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