Dempsey: Israel Knows We'll Strike Iran if Need Be

Israel and the United States are in agreement about the Iranian threat, says chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Elad Benari ,

Martin Dempsey
Martin Dempsey

Israel and the United States are now “in broad agreement” about the threat that Iran poses to the region and how to deal with it, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff  said Tuesday, according to the Defense News website.

Martin Dempsey, who spoke to the site after his visit to Israel at the beginning of the week, said that Israel now trusts that the U.S. will strike Iran if necessary.

“I think they are satisfied that we have the capability to use a military option if the Iranians choose to stray off the diplomatic path,” Dempsey said of Israeli officials.

“I think they are satisfied we have the capability. I think they believe we will use it,” he added.

Acknowledging there were differences in the past, Dempsey told Defense News that Israel and the United States are closer now in their assessment of the threat Iran poses and America’s willingness to act.

In the past, Israeli officials have expressed wariness about the international accord that was reached with Iran in November and also disagreed with the United States at times over the pace at which Iran could field a nuclear weapon.

“Our clocks are more harmonized than they were two years ago,” Dempsey said, in a direct reference to his comments from 2012 that Israeli and American clocks were “ticking at different paces” when it came to the Iranian threat.

“They just wanted to know that we are maintaining and continuing to refine our military options,” he said.

The deal between Iran and the six world powers, known as the P5+1, was criticized by Israeli leaders, particularly Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu who warned that the agreement would allow Tehran to continue its nuclear program and give nothing back to the West while being rewarded with sanctions relief.

This position has placed the Netanyahu at odds with the U.S. administration, to the point where President Barack Obama reportedly told him to “take a breather” from his criticism and shift attention to the terms of the final deal still under negotiation.