'Israel may push US into war with Iran'
The secretary of Russia's Security Council says there is an increasing possibility that the United States will be pushed into a military confrontation with Iran by the Israeli lobby in Washington.
"There is a likelihood of a military conflict escalation, to which the Americans are being pushed by Israel," Nikolai Patrushev said in an interview with Interfax on Thursday.
"All this talk about Iranians being almost a week away from creating a nuclear bomb, we have been hearing it for many years now. The presence of a military aspect in Tehran's nuclear program has never been proved by anyone," Patrushev said.
"At the moment, the US views Iran as its main problem,” the Patrushev said. “They are seeking to turn Tehran, their enemy, into a loyal partner, and for that purpose to change the ruling regime there by any means.”
Washington and Tel Aviv have repeatedly threatened Tehran with the "option" of a military strike, based on the allegation that Iran's nuclear work may consist of a covert military aspect.
On December 20, Panetta claimed that Iran was one year away from building an atomic weapon, threatening that Washington will take every step “necessary” to stop Tehran's nuclear program.
Less than a week later, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey said the US military is ready to launch a military strike against Iran, if occasion necessitates.
With the upcoming US presidential election, the Republican candidates have similarly heightened the anti-Iran rhetoric in an apparent bid to win Zionist votes.
The Israeli officials have also stepped up their war rhetoric against Iran over past months.
Iran has categorically refuted West's allegations, saying that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and as a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it has the right to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
Meanwhile, during its numerous inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has never found any evidence indicating that Iran's civilian nuclear program has been diverted towards nuclear weapons production.
Iranian officials have promised a crushing response to any military strike against the country, warning that any such measure could result in a war that would spread beyond the Middle East.