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U.S.: There's Still Time for Diplomacy on Iran

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland tells reporters: We believe there is still time for diplomacy to work with Iran.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 8/23/2012, 5:13 AM

Nuclear reactor (illustration)
Nuclear reactor (illustration)
Flash 90

The United States made it clear on Wednesday that it believes there is still time for diplomacy on the Iranian nuclear issue.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland made the remarks when asked by reporters whether the State Department feels pressure from Israel on Iran.

“Our view on the situation with Iran is not changed today,” she said, adding that the view “is that we believe there is still time for diplomacy to work, but we need to see a better effort from the Iranians to answer the concerns that we’ve had. So, we are focused on trying to have this dual-track policy of diplomacy backed by pressure work, and we are still focused on that.”

She added, “As we’ve said from all of our platforms, we are focused on combining diplomacy and pressure, trying to get Iran to be serious at the negotiating table, and we are in full consultations with the Israelis about the picture that we see, and we will continue to make those points clear.”

Nuland was then asked whether the U.S. ever indicated to Israel that if it decides to strike in Iran, the U.S. would have its back.

She responded by saying, “Again, the security of our Israeli ally is of paramount concern to us. We continue to have intensive consultations about all aspects of that and to support their requirements, but we have made absolutely clear to them that our view is that there’s still time for diplomacy to work.”

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, said this week that Israel and the United States view the Iranian nuclear threat differently.

“Israel sees the Iranian threat more seriously than the U.S. sees it, because a nuclear Iran poses a threat to Israel's very existence,” Dempsey said, adding that he and his Israeli counterpart, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, regularly confer on the issue.

“We speak at least once every two weeks, we compare intelligence reports, we discuss the security implications of the events in the region,” said Dempsey, adding, “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.”

Meanwhile, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced Tuesday that it will renew its efforts to acquire access to the Iranian military installations in which experiments involving nuclear warheads are suspected to have taken place.

Of particular concern is the Parchin Military complex, a suspected nuclear-trigger test site, near which Iran razed two buildings several months ago.

The last round between the UN’s nuclear watchdog and Iran took place in June. The two sides failed to agree on a deal allowing greater access to Tehran's contested nuclear program, including Parchin.