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Israel trying to ease tensions with U.S.

Wed., Sept. 5, 2012

Iran’s nuclear program focus of close talks between allies

JERUSALEM – Israeli officials said Tuesday they are in close discussions with the United States over how to deal with the Iranian nuclear program, seeking to ease tensions that have emerged between the two allies over a possible Israeli military strike against Iran.

The dialogue, in which Israel is looking for President Barack Obama to take a tough public position against Iran, suggests the odds of an Israeli attack in the near term have been reduced.

Israel, convinced that Iran isn’t taking seriously U.S. vows to block it from acquiring nuclear weapons, believes that time to stop the Iranians is quickly running out. A series of warnings by Israeli officials in recent weeks has raised concerns that Israel could soon stage a unilateral military strike. In response, senior American officials have made clear they oppose any Israeli military action at the current time.

After tense exchanges with the Americans, Israeli political and defense officials said Tuesday that the sides are now working closely together in hopes of getting their positions in sync. Clearer American assurances on what pressure it is prepared to use against Iran, including possible military action, would reduce the need for Israel to act alone, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were discussing a security matter.

There was no immediate American comment Tuesday, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu huddled with his security cabinet for a daylong briefing by military intelligence on Iran’s nuclear program.

Netanyahu has criticized the international community for failing to curb Iran’s nuclear program. In recent days, he has called for the world to set a clear “red line” for the Iranians. His comments were seen as veiled criticism of Obama.


 

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