After the Israeli transportation minister Shaul Mofaz, made a controversial threat on Friday that an attack on Iran was “inevitable”, other Israeli government officials have attempted to backtrack and play down the statement. The Israeli Prime Minister's spokesman stated that “all options are on the table” when it comes to Iran, and did not deny the possibility of an attack that Mofaz threatened. But he stated that international pressure was needed to force Iran to change course, rather than unilateral action by Israel.
But others in the Defense Department challenged Mofaz, saying that he was attempting to gain a political edge in the Kadima political party.
The statement by Mofaz on Friday caused an international furor, including a race on oil stocks that forced the price up to $139 a barrel. It also led to a response from the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA). "With unilateral military actions, countries are undermining international agreements, and we are at a historic turning point," said Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the IAEA.
The Iranian President, too, called for the United Nations Security Council to intervene in response to the threat He called the Israeli threat a blatant violation of international law.
The threat of unilateral action by a high-level Israeli official comes just after a meeting between the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and the US President George W. Bush, after which Olmert stated that the US was directly in line with Israel on the issue of Iran.