Israelis Accuse U.S. Defense Officials of Trying to Sway Israeli Public on Iran
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s statement that America believes Israel has not yet decided whether or not to attack Iran represents an attempt to convince the Israeli public to oppose such an attack, Israel Radio reported.
General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in his joint briefing with Panetta on Tuesday that an Israeli strike “could delay but not destroy Iran’s nuclear capabilities.”
The comments of Panetta and Dempsey are “a blatant and extreme attempt to directly influence the debate in Israel,” a security source told the Israeli website Walla!
Panetta said the military option is a “last resort” when it comes to Iran.
“With regard to the issue of where we’re at from a diplomatic point of view, the reality is that we still think there is room to continue to negotiate,” he said.
Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren, however, told CNN that the window of opportunity for anything but a military strike on Iran “is getting smaller,” adding that Israel’s clock is “ticking faster” than U.S. President Barack Obama’s in that area.