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Israeli Defense Minister, US Military Chief Discuss Iran

Israeli radio reports General Martin Dempsey wanted to prevent Israeli preemptive strike on Iranian nuclear program.
By Ari Soffer
First Publish: 8/14/2013, 4:47 PM

Defense Minister Mosshe Yaalon meets US General Martin Dempsey
Defense Minister Mosshe Yaalon meets US General Martin Dempsey
Flash 90

Iran's nuclear programme was at the centre of discussions on Wednesday between US army chief General Martin Dempsey and Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon, according to Israeli public radio.    

"The Iranian regime is involved in all of the conflicts in the region," the radio quoted Yaalon as saying during talks in Tel Aviv with Dempsey, which were attended by Dempsey's Israeli counterpart, IDF chief of staff General Benny Gantz.

Gantz was referring to Iran's longstanding support for a large number of terrorist groups in the Middle East - from Shia Islamist proxies in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria, to its longstanding support for Hamas and other Palestinian Arab terrorist groups.

Iran was also the focus of talks Dempsey held on Tuesday with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

The radio said the US military commander wanted to ensure Israel would not launch a pre-emptive strike against Iran's nuclear program, which Israel sees as geared towards developing nuclear weapons, which it sees as an existential threat.    

Despite Iran's election of a new president, Netanyahu has insisted that the regime's policy of extreme aggression has not changed, denouncing Hassan Rouhani as a "wolf in sheep's clothing" who would "smile and build a bomb."    

Rouhani said last week Iran was ready to hold "serious" talks with the major powers without delay to allay Western concerns about its nuclear program. But the new Iranian president has a long history of manipulating negotiations to play for time, playing a key role in hiding Iran's secretive nuclear program from European inspectors. 

Dempsey's visit came as Israel and the Palestinian Authority prepared to hold their first round of direct peace talks in nearly three years.    

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday warned the PA against renewed peace talks, saying they would be "detrimental" to their cause. Negotiations, warned Khamenei, would only "encourage the aggressors to increase their aggression and suppress the rightful resistance of the Palestinians.