Israel Tells U.S. Time Is Running Out In Iran Nuclear Dispute
By Phil Stewart and Dan Williams/Reuters
Any conflict could easily draw in the United States, where debate over Israel and Iran figures in campaigning for the presidential election in November. Republican candidate Mitt Romney visited Israel this week.
The Jewish state - which declines to confirm its own suspected nuclear arsenal - says little time remains before Iran achieves a “zone of immunity” in which Israeli bombs would be unable to penetrate deeply buried uranium enrichment facilities.
The United States has more potent weapons that would allow more time for the sanctions push to work.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, speaking at a news conference with Panetta, said the chances that sanctions would ultimately force Tehran’s hand were extremely low.
“We have clearly something to lose by this stretched time (during) which sanctions and diplomacy takes place because the Iranians are moving forward, not just in enrichment,” Barak said, possibly referring to missile development.
Panetta’s trip to Israel showcased the strong security ties between the two countries. Barak said those relations had never been better despite Israel’s misgivings over the Iran strategy pursued by Washington and other world powers.
Romney, on a visit to Israel that ended on Monday, said “any and all measures” must be used to keep Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.