WASHINGTON -- A former senior Pentagon official said Saturday that now is not an opportune time for an Israeli strike on Iran, and that any such strike would inevitably draw in the United States.

Colin Kahl, who served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East until December, said that any Israeli strike that prompted an Iranian retaliation would affect the United States.

"Even if it's just retaliation against Israel, the Americans will be in it from the beginning," he said, since the US would provide assistance to Israeli defense and because Iran would see an Israeli attack as inseparable from an American attack.

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