Top U.S. General Seeks Israeli Assurances on Iran Plans

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
Aug. 15, 2013, 9:02 a.m.

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.”

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