The Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey stressed Tuesday that a "possible "Israeli" strike on Iran's nuclear facilities may be able to hinder the Islamic Republic's atom ambitions but it will no destroy its nuclear program."
In a press briefing held in the pentagon, Dempsey and US Secretary of War Leon Panetta were asked for their opinion of a recent media report suggesting "Israel" was closer than ever to undertaking a unilateral strike against Iran, and whether they believed such military action would be effective.
Dempsey told reporters that "Militarily, my assessment hasn't changed. And I want to make clear, I'm not privy to their planning. So what I'm telling you is based on what I know of their capabilities. And I may not know about all of their capabilities. But I think that it's a fair characterization to say that they could delay but not destroy Iran's nuclear capabilities."
Panetta, on his part, said that "Israel" has not informed the US of any immediate plans to that effect. "I've said this before, I'll say it now - I don't believe "Israel" has made a decision as to whether or not they will, they will go in and attack Iran at this time," he said.
"Obviously, they're an independent, sovereign country. They'll ultimately make decisions based on what they think is in their national security interest. But I don't believe they made that decision at this time."
Panetta added that the US believes "there is room to continue to negotiate... The additional sanctions are beginning to have an additional impact on top of the other sanctions that have been placed there.
"The international community is strongly unified in opposition to Iran developing any kind of nuclear weapon," he said.
"We are working together, both on the diplomatic side as well as on the economic side... The United States and the international community are going to continue to press because, as I said and I'll continue to repeat - the prime minister of Israel said the same thing - that any kind of military action ought to be the last alternative, not the first."
Washington, Panetta stressed, still believes that "the window is still open to try to work towards a diplomatic solution."
Source: News Agencies, Edited by moqawama.org