Amid Nuclear Sabre-Rattling, Israelis and Iranians Reach Out via Facebook

As Israel and Iran continue to up the ante in their nuclear standoff, a campaign for peace between the two countries springs up on Facebook.

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Israel has shifted its language in discussing nuclear arms proliferation in Iran, with senior government and military officials now agreeing with the U.S.'s stance that Tehran has not yet "decided on the actual construction of a nuclear bomb," the AP reports. They still maintain Iran is "on the cusp" of obtaining a bomb, however, and stress the tonal shift really just comes down to semantics. If Iran's nuclear ambitions produce enough weapons-grade uranium to fuel a bomb, Israel argues, one could be assembled in under a year. Iran claimed in February that it already possessed 100 kilograms of uranium enriched to 20 percent; if that number reaches 90 percent, they'd conceivably have enough to build four nuclear bombs.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said today:

“Iran, whose leader foments terrorism and violence around the globe and calls for our destruction … this regime must never be allowed to have nuclear weapons.”

Iran responded with a warning that any attempt by the international community to hinder or restrict their civilian nuclear program -- dubbed "P5+1" -- would result in "heavy losses," in the words of a senior Iranian official to the Islamic Republic News Agency, The Jerusalem Post reports.

In more promising news, a movement has budded seeking to harness the power of social media to defuse growing tensions between the two countries. "Iranians, we will never bomb your country, we [heart] you," reads the message on a series of graphic posters uploaded to Facebook by an Israeli couple. Haaretz reports that within 48 hours of the "Israel Loves Iran" campaign going up, Iranian Facebook users began reaching out. You can observe and respond to the effort here.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.