Israel must initiate talks with U.S. on conflicting Iran interests

"Israel must prepare for the possibility that the United States will try to resolve the Iranian nuclear question by reaching an accommodation with Tehran, which will not include Israel. In such an event, the document notes, Israel must ensure that "the essential interests of the State of Israel are preserved."

The document has stirred a great deal of interest among officials at the Defense and Foreign Ministries, and also at the National Security Council, a senior political source said. The document points out that Israel assumes that its interests and those of the United States on the Iranian nuclear question are identical, and that complete transparency exists between the two allies on the relevant political and military levels. However, the Reut analysts warn that the overlap between Washington and Jerusalem is not absolute at this time, and they point to Iraq as topping the American agenda as well as concerns of further deterioration in the Gulf.

The Reut researchers also point to a lessening likelihood of American military action against Iran, and growing support for dialogue with Tehran. A third option may emerge, the document warns - between striking Iran during the Bush tenure and putting the matter off until his successor comes to office - of direct negotiations between Washington and Tehran.

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