Dempsey: Israel, U.S. Now Agree on Iran

Jerusalem now satisfied that Washington has the military option in mind if Iran strays, USA Today quotes U.S. chief of staff.

Moshe Ya'alon, left, meets with Martin Dempsey (Ariel Hermoni, Defense Minister)
Moshe Ya'alon, left, meets with Martin Dempsey at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on Sunday. Ariel Hermoni, Defense Minister

Israel and the United States have reached a closer understanding on the Iranian issue: the two nations agree about the potential threat to the region and what to do about it, U.S. Chief of Staff Martin Dempsey said on his plane ride home Tuesday, according to USA Today.

Tensions that arose between Washington and Jerusalem after Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon accused the U.S. of global feebleness have abated after the minister apologized. On Sunday afternoon Dempsey met with the Israeli chief of staff, Benny Gantz. Both generals made a point of remarking on the two nations' working relationship, and on Tuesday Dempsey drove home the point that the sides have grown closer regarding the Iranian nuclear program as well.

Despite past differences, he now believes Jerusalem is "satisfied that we have the capability to use a military option if the Iranians choose to stray off the diplomatic path," said Dempsey, according to USA Today. Moreover, Jerusalem is now more confident that if needed, the Americans will resort to military action, the top soldier said.

Frustration over Iran had been one of the reasons Ya'alon lashed out at Washington and switched to advocate unilateral Israeli action against Iran's nuclear program. He later apologized for his words.

During his two-day visit to Israel Dempsey met with a number of military officials and political leaders and discussed the possibility of Israel and various Gulf nations cooperating on security issues.

Asked on Monday as to whether Ya'alon's castigation of America had hurt ties, Gantz said: "There is no doubt that the relationship is as solid as ever." Dempsey, for his part, said that one of the things he valued most about the relationship was its candor. "The world is complicated enough without our speaking in parables to each other," the American general said. Today he augmented that with the assurance that the two nations are more in harmony over the Iranian issue as well.