US officials have warned that Egypt and Jordan could annul their peace treaties with Israel and sever all diplomatic ties if the Jewish state attacks Iran’s nuclear sites, a newspaper said on Thursday.
Quoting a high-level Israeli official, the top-selling Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot said Washington had warned that Arab leaders would not be able to control an angry public backlash if Israel were to mount an attack on Iran.
The official, who was privy to the US warning, 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,” he said.
“What happened with the film against Mohammed is just a preview of what will happen in case of an Israeli strike,” he said of the unrest which has swept the Muslim world, targeting US embassies and other American symbols and leaving more than 30 people dead.
Egyptian and Jordanian leaders “would not be able to withstand the pressure of the masses and would have to take drastic measures such as the severing of diplomatic ties and annulling the peace agreements, despite the fact that they are personally opposed to a nuclear Iran,” the paper said.
As well as potentially sacrificing its relations with Jordan and Egypt, a strike “would have severe ramifications on ties between Israel and other Muslim countries around the world, which … would be hard put to remain indifferent.”
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 believe that Iran’s nuclear programme 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.