JERUSALEM -- The latest developments surrounding Iran and its nuclear program would seem, on the surface, to provide Israel with reasons for even deeper worries about the threat from the Islamic Republic. After all, the revelation that Iran secretly built a second uranium enrichment plant in the mountains near the holy city of Qom offers more evidence supporting the Israelis' belief that Tehran aims to build nuclear weapons. The subsequent launches of Iranian missiles capable of striking Israel also highlighted the Jewish state's potential vulnerability to an Iranian attack.
And yet, the feverish pace of events and the international reaction to Iran's moves is providing Israeli leaders with a sense of reassurance rather than concern. For once since the start of Barack Obama's presidency, Israelis are starting to consider the possibility that Washington and the rest of the world will not leave it to handle Iran on its own.
The meeting today in Geneva between Tehran and Western powers unfolds in the wake of tough talk from the leaders of the United States, the United Kingdom and France, who sternly warned Iran about its "serial deception." President Obama came close to calling Iran a liar, when he rejected Tehran's claims that the enrichment plant in Qom was a pilot plant for nuclear energy production. "The size and configuration of this facility," he said, "is inconsistent with a peaceful program."