Israel concerned over US “umbrella” on Iran

Israel considers Iran its most dangerous enemy because of its nuclear program, long-range missile development and repeated references by its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to Israel’s destruction. Iran has insisted that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but Israel and the U.S. reject that.

Adding to the urgency was word Wednesday from the head of the Russian nuclear agency that Iran’s new atomic power plant will be switched on later this year.

For a decade, Israel has been presenting its “Arrow” anti-missile system, developed and jointly funded with the U.S., as an answer to medium-range Iranian missiles that might carry nuclear warheads. Tested repeatedly, the Arrow system has often succeeded in intercepting dummy incoming missiles, to great fanfare.

But just as Clinton worried Israelis by speaking of an umbrella over U.S. allies threatened by Iran, word came of three test failures in the Arrow system over the past week. The latest was in California, where a test was aborted before the Arrow missile could be launched because of a communications failure, according to Israeli defense officials speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose details of the tests.


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