Meridor denies there is a rupture in Israel-US ties

Likud minister stresses importance of maintaining support of Washington, US public; says Iran strike talks in unhelpful.

September 3, 2012 14:33
2 minute read.
Dan Meridor speaks with US President Obama in Seou

Dan Meridor speaks with US President Obama in Seoul 370 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Larry Downing)


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Intelligence Agencies Minister Dan Meridor said he does not sense any rupture in Israel's ties with the United States and stressed that it is very important to maintain Washington's support, as well as that of the American public, in an interview with Israel Radio on Monday.

Meridor's comments came one day after US ambassador Dan Shapiro also denied that there was any crisis between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama over the Iranian issue, in an interview with Channel 2.

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"There is definitely a narrative in the media right now – I'd say an overheated one – about tension between the US and Israel over Iran," Shapiro said, adding that this narrative does not "reflect the very close coordination and very intense work we've done together to address an issue that we perceive the same way, which is the importance of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons."

In his interview, Meridor denounced the public speculation regarding a possible preemptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities as unnecessary and perhaps even beneficial to the Iranians.

He said further that the international effort against Iran was taking its toll on the Iranians, who may now fear enriching uranium to a higher, bomb-grade level because of the knowledge they will encounter very strong resistance if they cross the line towards acquiring a nuclear bomb.

He concluded by saying that the international community needed to increase the pressure on Iran by strengthening the sanctions against it.

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Meanwhile, Vice Premier Silvan Shalom on Monday rejected a report that senior US officials had intimated to Iran that they would not stand by Israel if it were to strike the Islamic Republic.

"The sole disagreement between Israel and the US is in regard to timing," Shalom said in an interview with Army Radio. "The US is obligated to the existential and security interests of Israel. We are much closer than people think."

Shalom was responding to a Monday report in Yediot Aharonot which claimed senior US officials had reached out to Iran through secret channels to say they would not back Israel in the event of a strike in attempts to avoid retaliation against US interests.

Herb Keinon contributed to this report.

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