Military option will only set Iran's nuclear program back a year or two, top US official says

Top US negotiator with Iran, Wendy Sherman, says US wants to ensure that it will take Iran at least ten years to get the materials necessary to create one nuclear bomb.

Nuclear facility (photo credit: REUTERS)
Nuclear facility
(photo credit: REUTERS)
After the harsh public disagreement between the US and Israel about the framework agreement reached between Iran and world powers in Lausanne, Switzerland earlier this month, Washington is trying to ease the tension by turning directly to the Israeli public with messages emphasizing America's obligation to Israel's security and continued defense and intel cooperation between the countries.
In a briefing with Israeli journalists, Wendy Sherman, the US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs responsible for negotiations with Iran said that Israel's concerns are legitimate, but she stressed that a diplomatic deal is the only way to prevent Iran from advancing toward a nuclear weapon.
Sherman said that the military option is still on the table both for Israel and the US, but stressed that simply attacking Iran is not enough, because Tehran has the knowledge to rebuild its facilities. In addition, Sherman stated, the military alternative will only set Iran's drive for a nuclear weapon back for a year or two, which is why the only option that remains viable is negotiations.
She said that the US wants to ensure that it will take Iran at least ten years to get the materials necessary to create one nuclear bomb.
Sherman said that the Obama administration had granted more security aid to Israel than any previous administration and will continue to stand by Israel to help the Jewish state defend itself, even during this period of outward disagreement.
She said that the US would ensure that Israel would have the ability to defend itself against any future aggression. US President Barack Obama instructed the National Security Council to further increase the security ties between the two states, she said.
"Israel has the right to be worried about Iran. We must ensure that Israel has the ability to defend itself from Iran and its proxies, such as Hezbollah," Sherman said.
Sherman reiterated the administration's promise that any deal would ensure that Iran could not obtain a nuclear weapon. She said that there were still many details of the deal that were yet to be worked out and until all of the differences were settled, the end product would remain unknown. She estimates the sides will reach a final agreement by the June 30 deadline.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's concerns are fully understood,  said Sherman, adding that many of his fears were shared by the United States. Netanyahu believes that the deal must be conditioned on Iran's behavior, but that is too much to ask, Sherman told the Israeli reporters. She said that Washington believes that it must work in parallel to the diplomatic efforts on the nuclear track, to deal with concerns over Iran's behavior in the region.