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September 3, 2012 9:24 am

Concern Over Iran Policy Grows After U.S. General Distances Himself From Israeli Strike

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General Martin E. Dempsey.

Reacting to U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey’s statement that he won’t support a potential Israeli strike on Iran, Israeli officials and others are expressing concern over America’s commitment to preventing a nuclear Iran and helping to defend Israel against that threat.

Dempsey, speaking to reporters in London Aug. 30, said the following regarding an Israeli strike: “I don’t want to be complicit if they choose to do it.” He added that the “international coalition” applying pressure on Iran “could be undone if [Iran] was attacked prematurely.”

The international community, however, is failing to set a “clear red line” for Iran over its nuclear program, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told his Cabinet on Sunday. Netanyahu added that Iran “doesn’t see determination” from other countries that they will do what it takes to stop its nuclear quest.

Netanyahu’s warning followed that of Israeli Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who said Aug. 31 that “our friends in the United States” are “in part responsible” for the fact that Iran doesn’t fear international action against its nuclear program.

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“There are many cracks in the ring closing tighter on Iran,” Ya’alon said.

While the administration of President Barack Obama has repeatedly stressed that there is still time for diplomacy and sanctions to work in Iran, former U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Bolton told Ma’ariv that “time is on [Iran’s] side and they will continue with what seems like a well thought-out plan, mostly because they believe that the United States under Obama’s leadership will do nothing.”

The Wall Street Journal published  an editorial Saturday stating that while Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s threats to wipe you off the map have “the ring of honesty,” Obama—who has said the U.S. “will always have Israel’s back”—leads an administration that is trying “to sell to the public a make-believe world in which Iran’s nuclear intentions are potentially peaceful, sanctions are working and diplomacy hasn’t failed after three and half years.”

“Not only is there waning confidence that Mr. Obama is prepared to take military action [against Iran] on his own, but there’s also a fear that a re-elected President Obama will take a much harsher line on an Israeli attack than he would before the first Tuesday in November,” the editorial continued.

White House Spokesman Jay Carney recently said Obama “has made clear frequently he is determined to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

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