Israeli officials are meeting with American counterparts to urge them not to let Iran benefit from the battlefield successes of an al-Qaeda offshoot in Iraq, an aide in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said all possible means must be tried before a military strike against Iran and that the U.S. is prepared to use force if needed to stop the Iranian development of an atomic bomb.
For more than 15 years and more than any other world leader, Benjamin Netanyahu demanded sanctions against Iran to stop it from getting nuclear weapons. Now, as the sanctions are credited with weakening the Iranian economy enough to prompt a thaw between the U.S. and the Islamic nation, the Israeli prime minister is among the skeptics who remain unconvinced that anything significant has changed.
Iranian President-Elect Hassan Rohani’s vow to improve ties with the world carried him to a surprise first-round win. It also may have rewound the clock on a potential military strike against his country over its nuclear program.
An Israeli cabinet minister said world powers will take heed of his government’s concerns about a deal with Iran even as a former security adviser warned that Israel could still take matters into its own hands with a military strike.
The U.S. and Israel began their biggest joint air and missile defense exercise today amid rising tensions with Iran and as American presidential candidates prepare for a foreign-policy debate expected to focus on the region.