Dempsey: Israel, US differ on seriousness of Iran

Chairman of US Joint Chiefs of Staff US, Israel "clocks ticking at different paces" on Iran's nuclear threat.

US General Martin Dempsey 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
US General Martin Dempsey 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, said on Sunday that Israel and the United States view the Iranian nuclear threat differently.
Speaking to reporters on his arrival to Afghanistan, Dempsey said that the US and Israel have a different interpretation of the same intelligence reports in regards to Iran's nuclear program.
“Israel sees the Iranian threat more seriously than the US sees it, because a nuclear Iran poses a threat to Israel's very existence,” Dempsey said.
“You can take two countries, give them the same intelligence and reach two different conclusions. I think that's what’s happening here."
He also acknowledged that he and his Israeli counterpart, IDF Chief of Staff Lt-.Gen. Benny Gantz, regularly confer on Iran. “We speak at least once every two weeks, we compare intelligence reports, we discuss the security implications of the events in the region."
Dempsey added: "At the same time, we admit that our clocks ticking at different paces. We have to understand the Israelis; they live with a constant suspicion with which we do not have to deal.”
Click here for full Jpost coverage of the Iranian threat
Click here for full Jpost coverage of the Iranian threat
Dempsey last visited Israel in January, where he met with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Gantz and President Shimon Peres. During his visit he stressed the “mutual commitment” between Israel and the US.
However, he has previously warned that any Israeli strike would not destroy Iran’s nuclear program, only delay its work.
“I may not know about all of their capabilities but I think that it’s a fair characterization to say that they could delay but not destroy Iran’s nuclear capabilities,” he said.
Meanwhile, former Military Intelligence head Amos Yadlin on Saturday urged US President Barack Obama to visit Israel to allay fears that Washington is not fully committed to stopping the Iranian nuclear program.
“The US president should visit Israel and tell its leadership – and, more important, its people – that preventing a nuclear Iran is a US interest, and if we have to resort to military action, we will,” Yadlin said in an opinion piece published in The Washington Post.
Washington has repeatedly stated in recent weeks that diplomatic efforts and sanctions aimed at preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons have not run their course.