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White House: 'No Daylight' Between US, Israel Over Iran Nuclear Program


U.S. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney in the briefing room in Washington, January 18, 2012

U.S. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney in the briefing room in Washington, January 18, 2012

The White House says Israel and the United States are committed to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, but there is still time to pursue diplomacy.
"I can tell you that there is no daylight between the United States and Israel when it comes to the absolute need to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons," White House spokesman Jay Carney told VOA. "That is the president’s policy and he will use all aspects of American power towards the goal of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon," he said.
The White House spokesman said President Barack Obama believes there is still time for diplomacy while pressuring Iran though sanctions.
"But that window will not remain open forever," Carney said. "As the president has said, and I have said, and others, he has made sure that all options remain on the table in terms of dealing with this very serious matter.”
Israeli news report
Carney's comments come after an Israeli newspaper reported that Washington had approached Tehran to convey that it would not be dragged into a war if Israel attack Iran over its nuclear program.
The Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported Monday that the U.S. sent Iran an indirect message through two unidentified European nations "that it would not back an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities as long as Tehran refrains from attacking American interests in the Persian Gulf."
The newspaper also says unnamed Israeli officials reported an "unprecedented low" in the two countries' defense ties.
Foreign policy politics at home
Obama's Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, has accused the president of decreasing support for America's friends, especially Israel and Poland.
"President Obama has thrown allies like Israel under the bus," Romney said during his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention last week in Tampa.
"In his first TV interview as president, he said we should talk to Iran. We're still talking, and Iran's centrifuges are still spinning," Romney said.
The White House fired back on Friday, saying “cooperation with Israel between our military and intelligence communities has never been closer."
Officials say the U.S. is currently building a radar station in Qatar to defend U.S. interests and American allies from Iranian missiles. The U.S. is also organizing a minesweeping exercise in the Persian Gulf later this month in an effort to deter Iran from blocking oil exports through the Strait of Hormuz.
VOA's Persian News Network contributed to this report.
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    Carla Babb

    Carla is VOA's Pentagon correspondent covering defense and international security issues. Her datelines include Ukraine, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Korea.

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