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WASHINGTON – Washington is sending an increasingly strong signal to Israel that it will not support or engage in military action against Iran, despite Tehran’s insistence on continuing its nuclear program, according to Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
As WND recently reported, in what amounts to a final warning, Israel said it intends to take military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities, since it believes Tehran is within a month of constructing a nuclear bomb.
Israeli officials say that they may not wait that long before undertaking military action.
While Iran has consistently denied its nuclear program is designed to build weapons, Israel bases its assessment on centrifuges that are producing enriched uranium at 20 percent. Israel says that provides a basis for further enrichment to more than 90 percent, which could fuel a nuclear weapon.
Thomas Pickering, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who is close to the Obama administration, said that the United States hasn’t taken any options – meaning military action – off the table but intends to give a priority to pursuing a negotiated compromise over Iran’s nuclear program.
In a recent interview with Iran Review, Pickering said that there has been no change in the administration’s actions.
“I think that the Israelis have always been preoccupied with the notion that diplomacy won’t be able to do the job and that it won’t get anywhere,” Pickering said.
“And I think he (Obama) has always said that he is deeply opposed to an Iranian nuclear weapon,” Pickering said. “He is going to try diplomacy as a way to assure that this won’t happen.
“We are now engaged in that, but he has also always said he is not prepared to take other options off the table, but obviously he sees whether the diplomacy option can work. So, I don’t think anything has changed and is different.”
Picking’s description of the Obama administration’s policy on Iran is in conflict with comments recently made by prominent American-Jewish billionaire and GOP financial backer Sheldon Adelson.
Before an audience at Israel’s Yeshiva University, Adelson suggested the United States should use nuclear weapons on Iran rather than negotiate.
“What are we going to negotiate about?” Adelson asked.
“I would say, ‘Listen, you see that desert out there, I want to show you something.’ …You pick up your cell phone and you call somewhere in Nebraska and you say, ‘OK let it go.’ And so there’s an atomic weapon, goes over ballistic missiles, the middle of the desert, that doesn’t hurt a soul. Maybe a couple of rattlesnakes, and scorpions, or whatever. Then you say, ‘See! The next one is in the middle of Tehran. So, we mean business. You want to be wiped out? Go ahead and take a tough position and continue with your nuclear development. You want to be peaceful? Just reverse it all, and we will guarantee you that you can have a nuclear power plant for electricity purposes, energy purposes.’”
The 80-year-old casino mogul was a major supporter of former presidential candidate Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. He made his comments with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach at a symposium called “Will Jews Exist? Iran, Assimilation and the Threat to Israel and Jewish Survival.”
Pickering, however, struck a more conciliatory approach, with the prospect that the recent election of Hassan Rouhani means the new president of Iran will be more moderate – a claim Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu disputes.
“Of course, not everybody agrees with a diplomatic solution,” Pickering said. “I think at this stage, we have to do everything we can to give the diplomatic solution a chance to operate.
“We have to recognize that people on both sides would criticize it, even before they made a major effort to try it,” he said.
“I think those are some problems that have to be contended with. They are not unique on one side or another, but as a diplomat, I’ve been a diplomat for a long period of time, one learns that in a diplomatic process, one has to do his best to overcome those obstacles rather than necessarily let them destroy the process.”
Pickering, who has served as U.S. ambassador to Moscow, Israel, India and Jordan among other countries, also is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is on the board of directors of the American-Iranian Council.
Pickering signaled that the Obama administration wants closer diplomatic ties with Tehran, given the mutual interests of the U.S. and Iran in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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