Low-level diplomatic talks between world powers and Iran have failed, according to Israeli officials. Sunday on Israel Radio, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon suggested that, if all world powers involved in the talks would collectively declare failure, “it will be clear that all options are on the table.” This comment, referring directly to the threat of a preemptive attack on the Iranian nuclear program, has amplified the rumors that Prime Minister Netanyahu has all but made the final decision to attack Iran unilaterally in the coming months.

However, Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom sent a slightly different message to U.S. officials by calling on the U.S. to implement even stronger sanctions in hopes of toppling the Iranian regime or convincing them that they must give up their supposed nuclear weapons program in order to survive.

This intensified rhetoric from Israel has been reported against the backdrop of two powerful earthquakes that struck in succession in the area just north of the city of Tabriz in Iran this weekend. The earthquakes, the largest of which was rated as 6.2 on the Richter scale, have affected at least 133 villages, and have resulted in over 300 deaths and over 3,000 injuries. Because the earthquakes hit during the day while men were at work and away from the affected areas, most of the casualties were women and children. While the casualties were caused by the earthquake, deficiencies in infrastructure are also to blame. One seismologist explained that in more developed areas an earthquake of that size would have only caused 10 deaths.

As world powers, including the U.S., respond to Israel’s claim that talks have failed, we at RACblog will continue to keep an eye on the impact of economic sanctions and understand exactly how close we might be to a nuclear Iran, a preemptive strike on its facilities or any number of other possibilities.

Picture courtesy of CNN.