U.S. Denies Consensus with Israel on Iran Nuclear Threat [View all]
Saturday, 11 August 2012 06:34 Mitchell Plitnick
WASHINGTON, Aug 10 (IPS) - Tensions rose Thursday between the Barack Obama administration and the Israeli government when a leading Israeli official claimed to have knowledge of U.S. intelligence that portrays Iran as a more immediate threat than Washington has been saying.Israel has been urging the United States to take a more aggressive stance with Iran, while President Obama has maintained that sanctions and diplomacy must be given more time to work.
But Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak touched off a controversy with the United States Thursday when he told Israel Radio that a new U.S. report "being passed around senior offices… comes very close to our own estimate… as opposed to earlier American estimates.
"It transforms the Iranian situation to an even more urgent one and it is even less likely that we will know every development in time on the Iranian nuclear programme," he said.
The Obama administration did not respond immediately, but later in the day a spokesman for the National Security Council stated that, "We believe that there is time and space to continue to pursue a diplomatic path, backed by growing international pressure on the Iranian government. We continue to assess that Iran is not on the verge of achieving a nuclear weapon."