White House Responds to Romney on Israel
The White House rejected on Friday comments made by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who heavily criticized President Barack Obama and accused him of throwing Israel “under the bus.”
Romney, who accepted the Republican party nomination for President in Florida on Thursday night, also warned in his acceptance speech that “every American is less secure today because [Obama] has failed to slow Iran’s nuclear threat.”
Obama said years ago that America should talk to Iran, he recalled. “We’re still talking,” he said, “and Iran’s centrifuges are still spinning.”
White House Spokesman Jay Carney on Friday rejected Romney’s criticism, telling reporters aboard Air Force One, “I can simply say that, under President Obama, cooperation with Israel between our military and intelligence communities has never been closer, assistance provided to Israel by the United States has never been greater than it has been under President Obama.”
Carney added, “We have an extremely close relationship with Israel, which is appropriate given our unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.”
Addressing the Iranian issue, Carney went on to say, “It is the President’s firm commitment that we must prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. That is why in the beginning when he took office, he took steps to organize an international consensus -- a consensus of approbation directed at Iran and its refusal to abide by its international obligations, its refusal to affirmatively demonstrate that it will not pursue nuclear weapons. And that effort has resulted in the most severe sanctions regime ever levied against -- or leveled against a country in history, with greater international consensus on this issue than has ever existed.”
“When President Obama took office, the world was divided on this issue, and Iran was united; the opposite is now true,” said Carney. “The Iranian regime is under intense economic as well as political pressure, thanks to the efforts of the international community, led by the United States. It is the President’s belief that the best way to ensure that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon is to achieve that goal through a diplomatic solution and a choice by Iran to forgo its nuclear ambition.”
“The opportunity to achieve that goal remains available, that window remains open. But it is absolutely the case that that window will not remain open indefinitely,” he emphasized.
On Thursday, the U.S. military's top officer made statements which appear to warn Israel that it should not expect U.S. assistance if it chooses to attack Iran's nuclear weapons program.
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, said such an attack would “clearly delay but probably not destroy Iran's nuclear program.” He added: "I don't want to be complicit if they [Israel] choose to do it."
Dempsey said he did not know Iran's nuclear intentions, since intelligence does not reveal intentions. What was clear, he said, was that the "international coalition" applying pressure on Iran "could be undone if [Iran] was attacked prematurely".
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)