Washington’s most senior military officer this week sought Israeli assurances that the Middle Eastern nation is not planning an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities that the United States and its allies fear could be stepping stones to atomic arms, according to a public radio report cited by Agence France-Presse on Wednesday.
U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey spoke on Tuesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and on Wednesday with Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon. Israeli General Staff head Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz sat in on the latter discussion.
Dempsey was visiting Israel to ensure Yaalon “is not flip-flopping on the Americans and changing his mind about an independent Israeli strike on Iran,” a senior Israeli defense insider told al-Monitor last week.
After meeting with Dempsey, Netanyahu said the possibility of a nuclear-armed Iran eclipses all other dangers from Israel’s neighbors, the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported on Tuesday.
“We will work together so that doesn’t happen,” Netanyahu said.
President Obama has sought to curb Iran’s suspected pursuit of a nuclear-weapon capability through economic pressure and diplomatic engagement, but also has refused to rule out employing direct force against Tehran’s activities. Netanyahu has more heavily emphasized the possibility of an armed offensive against Tehran, which insists its atomic ambitions are purely peaceful.
In a news report published last week, Israel’s finance minister said Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities could potentially be leveled with “a few hours of airstrikes.”