October 20, 2013

Signs of rift between Israel and US over Iran

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants the U.S. to step up the pressure on Iran over its nuclear program.

The Associated Press

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Ephraim Asculai, a former official of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission and currently a research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, said it was too early to talk of a gap between Israel and the United States because the U.S. position on a compromise was not yet clear. He said the most important thing is to prevent Iran from stalling while it moves forward with its weapons program.

But Yoel Guzansky, an Iran expert at the institute and a former national security aide in the prime minister’s office, said there will always be a gap between the U.S. and Israel due to their different military capabilities and the level of threat they face.

Guzansky said Israeli officials realize that they will not get everything they seek, and are pressing a maximalist view in hopes of getting as many concessions out of Iran as possible.

“It appears that the Americans are interested in a scaled approach,” he said. “Israel is very concerned about this and it has good reason to. It’s afraid the deal will become a slippery slope,” he said.

However, Guzansky said Israel has little choice but to rely on the U.S. If there is a deal, it will all but rule out the possibility of unilateral Israeli military action, he said.

“Israel really only has one option,” he said. “The chance it will act alone after the Americans make a deal is miniscule.”

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