The United States has no intention of joining in a preemptive Israeli strike on Iran and expects the Islamic Republic to refrain from attacking US targets in the case of such an attack, senior Washington officials told their Iranian counterparts, according to a report in Yedioth Ahronoth on Monday.
In recent days, senior administration officials reportedly sent messages to Iran, through diplomats from two European states, addressing the possibility that Israel would launch a unilateral strike and establishing that the US expects Iran to not draw it into a conflict by firing on American army bases and aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf.
Monday’s report came amid widespread debate over the level of coordination between Israel and the US on halting Iran’s nuclear program, which — despite assurances by US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro on Sunday that the relationship is as good as ever — appeared to be strained.
While Israel has warned that the Iranians are quickly approaching a potential weapons capability and that the use of force must be seriously considered, the US says sanctions and international diplomacy must be given more time to work.
Highlighting the disagreement between the two countries on the use of force were reports of a scaling-down of joint US-Israel missile defense exercises in October, and public comments by the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, who said last Thursday that he did not want to be “complicit” in an Israeli attack on Iran.
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