U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey (C)
U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, center, stands next to IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz. Photo by AP
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Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey. Photo by AP

General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff of the American armed forces, told the New York Times Wednesday that the U.S. and Israel have better military options against Iran today than they did a year ago.

In Jordan after a visit to Israel, General Dempsey told the newspaper that after meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon and Army Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, he “sensed agreement” that diplomatic steps and sanctions “were having an effect” on Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Israel “of course wants us to continue to present a credible military threat to support those diplomatic and economic efforts,” the New York Times cited him as saying.

“Since I was here last year, we have better military options than we did a year ago,” he told the Times.“That’s because we’ve continued to refine them. We’ve continued to develop technology, we’ve continued to train and plan.” He declined to provide details, however, the Times reported.

General Dempsey arrived in the region Monday for an official visit to Israel and Jordan.

The purpose of his visit to Israel was to discuss the mutual interests shared by the two countries and to further develop defense ties, a U.S. Defense Department official said. This was Dempsey's second visit to Israel since his appointment to the post in 2011, his first having taken place in October of last year.

The agenda for discussions centered on the Iranian nuclear threat, the ongoing civil war in Syria and the unstable security situation in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.

He told the Times on Wednesday that Israel is concerned by the flow of arms into Syria, which could be used against Israel, as well as the possibility of Iran's influence increasing in Syria and throughout the region in the wake of the conflict there.

Dempsey's visit to Jordan included meetings with American forces there, and was regarded as an opportunity to get a first-hand look at the effects of the conflict in Syria on Jordan, a country that has taken in large numbers of refugees fleeing the fighting in their country. Dempsey last visited Jordan in April 2012.