News / Middle East

    White House Faces Continuing Questions on Iran, Possible Israeli Action

    The White House says the United States and Israel share the same goal of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, and emphasizes the importance of allowing enough time for international sanctions to change the Iranian government's behavior.  

    Amid the flurry of media reports ahead of next week's talks between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, two in particular were the subject of questions at Tuesday's White House news briefing.

    An Associated Press report quoted what it called U.S. officials familiar with high level U.S.-Israel discussions as saying that Israel would not warn the United States if a decision is made to launch a preemptive military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities.

    Press Secretary Jay Carney said he would not comment on discussions between U.S. and foreign officials, stressing the fact that Israel and the United States are fully engaged at every level.

    When pressed again on the issue of prior notice of an Israeli attack on Iran, Carney said, "We have very close relationships with our Israeli counterparts.  We have deep engagement at every level.  But I wouldn't discuss speculative; I wouldn't answer speculative questions like that."

    Whether Israel would provide advance notice has been among many questions in the intense media reporting ahead of next week's Obama-Netanyahu meeting.

    Security studies specialist Colin Kahl of Georgetown University Colin Kahl, associate professor at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, says Israel has been sending signals for months that an attack on Iran is being contemplated.

    Kahl says that, in some sense, is a "strategic warning."  But he adds that the question remains whether Israel would give the United States actual notice prior to launching an attack. "The only person that knows the answer to that question is Netanyahu.  But I think there is a concern that the Israelis wouldn't want the United States to discourage them from taking action at the last minute and therefore they may only give the United States a few hours notice," he said.

    Top U.S. officials, including President Obama's national security adviser, have visited Israel in recent months to make the case that more time should be allowed for international sanctions against Iran to work.

    Iran denies that its nuclear program has any military purpose, saying its uranium enrichment activities, which U.N. atomic inspectors say have reached unprecedented levels, are for peaceful civilian purposes.

    Carney was asked about a report in The Wall Street Journal that says Mr. Obama is considering speaking in more specific terms about so-called "red lines" Iran should not cross.

    The newspaper said this was linked to Israeli government complaints about public statements by some U.S. officials, including Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Army General Martin Dempsey, that Israeli leaders felt sent the wrong signals to Iran.

    Responding to the report, Carney repeated President Obama's pledge that no options have been taken off the table regarding Iran, but he said the United States believes there is "time and space" for diplomacy and sanctions to work. "There is a road out of, or a path out of this dead end that Iran has been pursuing, which is to honor its international obligations, forsake its nuclear weapons ambitions and rejoin the international community by living up to its obligations," he said.

    U.S. officials, including Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, have identified red lines for Iran as being a decision to develop a nuclear weapon along with any attempt to block the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

    President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu are scheduled to speak at the annual conference of the largest pro-Israel lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

    Carney said Mr. Obama will discuss the Iran issue in his address to the organization on Sunday, the day before he welcomes the Israeli leader to the White House, but he offered no details of what the president intends to say.

    You May Like

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora