By Robert Berger
U.S. President Barack Obama has dispatched a senior envoy to Israel amid growing tensions with Iran about its nuclear program.
U.S. National Security Adviser Tom Donilon met with Israeli leaders amid growing American concern Israel is planning a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
In a U.S. television interview Sunday, America’s top General Martin Dempsey warned an attack on Iran at this time is “not prudent” and “would be premature.”
It is believed that Donilon is bringing the same message to Israel in person.
“It sounds like it is part of the American effort to prevent Israel from using force now,” says Israeli analyst Uri Bar Yosef.
Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. But Israel and the West believe Tehran is building nuclear weapons that could threaten the existence of the Jewish state.
The United States sees military action as a last resort, and wants Israel to give international sanctions against Iran more time. Israel has welcomed the tougher measures imposed by the West, but at the weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem officials warned sanctions have fallen short.
Israeli Cabinet minister Gideon Sa’ar said the aim of sanctions is to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, but that has not been achieved.
Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak says Iran is getting closer to nuclear capability and therefore “no option should be removed off the table.”
Israeli officials say that includes the military option, if sanctions and diplomacy fail.