Cheney tried to provoke Iran-Israel war

US Vice President Richard Cheney has considered provoking an exchange of military strikes between Iran and Israel in order to give the United States a pretext to attack Iran, Newsweek magazine reported in its Monday issue.

But the weekly said the steady departure of neoconservatives from the administration over the past two years had helped tilt the balance away from war.

One official who pushed a particularly hawkish line on Iran was David Wurmser, who had served since 2003 as Cheney’s Middle East adviser, the report said.

A spokeswoman at Cheney’s office confirmed to Newsweek that Wurmser left his position last month to “spend more time with his family.”

A few months before he quit, Wurmser told a small group of people that Cheney had been mulling the idea of pushing for limited Israeli missile strikes against the Iranian nuclear site at Natanz — and perhaps other sites — in order to provoke Tehran into lashing out, the magazine reported, citing two unnamed “knowledgeable sources.”

The Iranian reaction would then give Washington a pretext to launch strikes against military and nuclear targets in Iran, Newsweek reported.

When Newsweek attempted to reach Wurmser for comment, his wife, Meyrav, declined to put him on the phone and said the allegations were untrue, the report said.

A spokeswoman at Cheney’s office told the weekly the vice president “supports the president’s policy on Iran.”