Daily Israel Report

Panetta: Israel Hasn't Decided Yet on Iran Strike

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says he doesn't think Israel has made a decision to launch a military strike on Iran.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 2/15/2012, 5:44 AM

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Tuesday said he does not think Israel has made a decision to launch a military strike on Iran to thwart its nuclear ambitions, The Associated Press reported.

Panetta made the comments while testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, where he was pressed on the growing possibility that Israel would attack Iran.

AP quoted Panetta as having said Iran was a great concern and the U.S. has a common cause with Israel and the international community to ensure that Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon. He said the U.S. and other nations have taken strong steps with sanctions and stressed the importance of keeping the international community together.

Panetta then said that, as President Barack Obama has previously suggested, that the administration does not think Israel has made a decision on an attack in Iran.

The media has been rampant with speculations in recent months that Israel is planning to launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

A recent report on NBC revealed what an Israeli attack on Iran may look like. The report, which was based on conversations the American network held with current and former officials in Israel and the United States, suggested that an attack on Iran will combine air and ground faces but will not include naval forces.

Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey also defended the Pentagon's slimmed-down, $614 billion budget for 2013, AP reported, telling lawmakers it's time to show Congress is serious about reducing the deficit.

According to the report, Panetta warned lawmakers that budget cuts will hit all 50 states but said the reductions have been carefully planned and there is little room for changes.

Reports on Monday said that as part of the slimmed-down budget, the Obama administration is seeking to cut the amount of money Israel receives for its missile defense systems in 2013 by $6.3 million relative to the 2012 budget proposal.