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Middle East

Clinton warns Israel against go-it-alone attack on Iran

media Hillary Clinton at the Istanbul Congress Center, 1 April 2012 Reuters/Brendan Smialowski/Pool

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has warned against a unilateral Israeli strike against Iran, telling American broadcaster ABC news that it would be in no one’s interest.

In an interview late Tuesday night, Clinton emphasized the need to focus on negotiations ahead of proposed upcoming talks between Tehran and six world powers in Istanbul. She told a press conference on Saturday that the aim of the talks on Iran's nuclear programme is prevention, not containment.

Despite Clinton’s optimism, opinion remains divided within Israel as to whether an attack  is currently an option.

Amid reports that Israel is considering using air bases in Azerbaijan, senior Israeli defence officials told the press earlier this week that they are waiting to see the effects of sanctions and diplomatic measures, meaning that any potential strike could be delayed until 2013.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated earlier this week that current sanctions do appear to be having an effect but that the next stage of action is not yet clear.

The scheduling of diplomatic talks with Iran, proposed for around 13 April, has drawn criticism from Russian and EU officials, who say that the session is yet to be fully organised.

Iran reportedly requested on Wednesday that the talks be held in Baghdad, as its relations with Turkey have deteriorated due to events in Syria. The talks will be the first of their kind since January 2011.

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