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Israel refuses to pledge not to launch a unilateral attack on Iran

A British newspaper claims that the Israeli government has refused to pledge to let the United States know well in advance of any unilateral attack against Iranian nuclear facilities. According to the Sunday Times, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army General Martin Dempsey, concluded his visit to Israel last week without Israel giving any pledges not to launch an attack against Iran. The newspaper explained that Israeli officials even refused to say that they will seek the approval of the United States prior to any such attack.


The Sunday Times report added that "the Israelis said they will notify Washington about such an attack only twelve hours before carrying it out". Reports in the Hebrew media claimed that the reason was Israel's fear that "US President Barack Obama may prevent the Israeli attack if notified [well] ahead of time".

On its website, Hebrew radio considered that "Obama may prevent Israel from launching such an attack as he is starting his re-election campaign, and out of the fear that such an action may lead to the rise of oil prices in the world."

America's Wall Street Journal reported last week that the US Defence Secretary, Leon Panetta, and senior officials have sought in recent weeks to get assurances from Israel that it won't take military action against Iran in return for Washington's pledge to impose further sanctions on Tehran. However, the WSJ said that the American officials did not obtain "clear commitments" and US intelligence officers "complained about the ambiguity of the Israeli position towards Iran". This has led to an increase in Washington's doubts about the situation, resulting in Gen. Dempsey being despatched to Tel Aviv on an official visit seeking further assurances.

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