Friction between foes Israel and Iran has escalated over the past week and has caused the U.S. to step in to avert potential all out Mideast war.
In an effort to thwart a possible attack on Iran's nuclear program by Israel, on Monday the U.S. has implemented tougher sanctions against Iran. The new set of sanctions signal a move by the U.S. and its allies to avoid possible military action against Iran by Israel, which would likely ignite a new Mideast conflict.
The U.S. ordered further sanctions hoping, along with its allies, that the new measures will drastically hamper Iran's economy and force the country to halt its nuclear program. Critics believe Iran is building a nuclear bomb – a claim that the Islamic Republic vehemently denies.
The new sanctions come on the heels of comments made by senior Israeli officials that have raised speculation about the possibility of Israel attacking Iran and raised alarm among officials in Washington.
"In my military experience, any site protected by human can be penetrated by humans. At the end of the day all their sites can be hit," Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon told the audience during a security conference last week.
The comments have stirred much speculation about a preemptive attack that could ignite all out war. According to reports, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is now trying to pull back from the comments warning Israeli officials to stop discussing the possibility of an attack on Iran, according to the Hebrew daily newspaper Maariv.
"Stop blabbing, already. This chit-chat causes huge damage, puts Israel on the front line, and damages sanctions," according to unnamed senior officials cited by the paper.
U.S. President Barack Obama has also made an effort to curb the dangerous speculation. On Sunday, Obama told U.S. network NBC that he did not believe that Israel had made a decision to strike Iranian nuclear facilities yet and reiterated his hope for a diplomatic solution.
"I've been very clear – we're going to do everything we can to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and creating a nuclear arms race in the volatile region," Obama said.
"Again, our goal is resolve this diplomatically. That would be preferable. We're not going to take options of the table, though," he added.
Iran has responded to the controversy by publishing a new doctrine on conservative Iranian websites saying that the country has both legal moral justifications to wipe out Israel.
Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's strategy specialist, Alireza Forghani, wrote the article, which said that Israel could be wiped out within minutes and argued that Iran must not loose the opportunity to remove the "corrupting material" of Israel.