U.S. and Israel on Iran: Widening gap or ‘different clocks’?

Click photo to download. Caption: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States Military, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, meets Israel Defense Forces Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz in Israel. Credit: Israel Defense Forces.(JNS.org) While Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren downplayed the reportedly widening gap between Washington and Jerusalem’s positions regarding the necessity and timing of possible military action against Iran’s nuclear program, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey said on Sunday that the two countries have “different clocks” regarding the nuclear threat.

“[Israelis] are living with an existential concern that we are not living with,” Dempsey said, according to Agence France Presse.

Israeli officials say the threshold for military action against Iran is the point at which Iran becomes capable of assembling a bomb, but the Americans believe that the Iranians must be stopped only at the point in which they decide to actually build the bomb.

Oren said Saturday that he had not felt the U.S. administration was pressuring Israel to refrain from acting against Iran’s nuclear weapons project.

“If Israel ultimately decides to take action against Iran, we will receive extremely widespread support from the American people and Congress, and President [Barack] Obama will continue to recognize our right to defend ourselves on our own,” he told Israel Hayom. “It won’t create a rift with the United States.”

Posted on August 20, 2012 .