JERUSALEM, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- Previous reports of tensions between the United States and Israel over how and when to deal with Iran's continued progress towards a nuclear weapon have, in the last couple of weeks, become very public and very sharp.
U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu both agree that Iran can't be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons; however that's where the consensus ends.
Senior U.S. and Israeli officials have said that Israel and U.S. "clocks are ticking at a different speed," meaning the Israel likely deems it necessary to act militarily before the U.S. does. But lately the U.S. has been using both public statements and actions to get Israel to reset its watch.
One of the most vocal opponents to Israeli military action is Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said last week that he won't be "complicit" if Israel decides to attack Iran's nuclear infrastructure.
The remarks came just two weeks after Dempsey said that an Israeli strike might delay Iran's nuclear program but it wouldn't destroy it.
The U.S. has also taken concrete action to make its point clear: Times magazine published over the weekend that the U.S. cut the number of soldiers set to participate in next month's "Austere Challenge 12" drill from 5000 to 1500.
The Pentagon also said it would downsize the amount of missile interception systems set to be used in the drill. Further, only one Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense warship will be deployed instead of two.
"The U.S. doesn't want Israel to launch a preventive strike against Iran's nuclear facilities, and every week we hear a public statement designed to prevent Israel from doing so," Prof. Eytan Gilboa, of Bar-Ilan University, told Xinhua on Sunday.
"There is also a level of distrust between the two leaders and therefore Netanyahu doesn't believe that Obama is sufficiently serious in stopping Iran, and Obama suspects that Netanyahu would authorize a preemptive strike," he added.
Netanyahu on Sunday once again called upon the international community to foil Iran's nuclear plan.
"The international community is not putting down a clear red line for Iran," Netanyahu said during the weekly cabinet meeting.
"Iran is not seeing the international community's determination to stop its nuclear program, and it won't stop until it will," he added.
However, Netanyahu earlier this year was successful in convincing the European Union and the U.S. that harsher economic sanction needs to be imposed on Iran or Israel might have to take action. But while tougher sanctions were subsequently imposed, Netanyahu's warning that the oil, commerce and banking sanctions are not stopping Iran's nuclear drive.
Meanwhile, American suspicions of Israel's plans were confirmed by former U.S. ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk, who told Israeli Army radio two weeks ago that the Obama administration believed Israel was going to attack Iran last spring - but that it then felt deceived by Israel when the attack didn't happen.
And, subsequently, the U.S. has learned to live with the Israeli threats, which Indyk described as a "classic case of crying wolf."
In addition to the public statements by American officials speaking out against an Israeli attack, several former members of Israel's military and security echelon, like those of former Mossad chief Meir Dagan and former Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, have done the same.
Dagan and Ashkenazi's decision to speak out against the government on such a critical and sensitive issue is unheard of Israel, and their statement, along with others', have influenced Israeli public opinion on the matter.
Gilboa said that the Israeli leadership is hard-pressed, because there isn't enough internal and external support outside of Israel for a strike. But he cautioned that it was very hard to say how this would affect Netanyahu's decision process.
Ambassador Zalman Shoval, who served as Israeli ambassador to the U.S. between 1990 and 1993, and again from 1998 to 2000, said that the harsher and more public tone being used by the American officials was not significant, because countries make decisions based on interests.
"The Obama administration - right now- doesn't have an interest in creating further international tensions with Iran and in the Middle East in general," Shoval said.
"First of all, because of the (presidential) elections campaign, and, secondly, the Obama administration in principle will try not to get involved in a crisis in the Middle East and therefore they want to cool things down," he added
Shoval, looking back on his extensive experience with the U.S. government, said that even when there was a lack of trust or chemistry between previous prime ministers and presidents, the moment both sides had a common interest - disputes were put on the back burner, and the relationship improved.
JERUSALEM, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday called for setting "clear red lines" for Iran to curb its nuclear plan, while a former judge warned that a military move against Iran now could be dangerous.
"The international community is not putting down a clear red line for Iran," Netanyahu said during the weekly cabinet meeting, adding that "Iran is not seeing the international community's determination to stop its nuclear program, and it won't stop until it will." Full story
TEHRAN, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- The 16th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit opened in the Iranian capital of Tehran on Thursday, during which UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Iran to remove international concerns over its controversial nuclear program.
"For the safety of the region and the world, Iran should take measures and build mutual trust to remove international concerns, which can be done through cooperation with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)," said Ban. Full story
TEHRAN, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- Iran's Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi said Friday that the recent report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Iran's Parchin Military Base lacks "technical significance," the semi-official ISNA news agency reported.
An IAEA report said Thursday that Iran has expanded its potential capacity to refine uranium in an underground site by doubling its centrifuges from 1,064 to 2,140 and it has cleansed another site where the agency suspected the country had conducted explosive experiments linked to production of nuclear weapons. Full story