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News | Obama Administration, Romney Court Israel on Iran Showdown


29 Jul 2012 22:50Comments

Press Roundup provides a selected summary of news from the Farsi and Arabic press and excerpts where the source is in English. Tehran Bureau has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy. Any views expressed are the authors' own. Please refer to the Media Guide to help put the stories in perspective. You can follow breaking news stories on our Twitter feed.

ThomasDonilon2010Crop.jpg 10:50 p.m. IRDT, 8 Mordad/July 29 Israel's relatively liberal newspaper Haaretz reports that in his trip to Israel two weeks ago, Thomas Donilon, President Barack Obama's national security adviser, presented the U.S. plans for an attack on Iran. According to Haaretz,
Donilon sought to make clear that the United States is seriously preparing for the possibility that negotiations will reach a dead end and military action will become necessary. He said reports of such preparations were not just a way to assuage Israel's concerns.... Donilon shared information on U.S. weaponry and military capabilities for dealing with Iran's nuclear facilities, including those deep underground.

Those capabilities include a new bunkerbuster bomb weighing 15 tons that can destroy hardened underground targets, presumably including Iran's uranium enrichment facility at Fordow.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton also recently visited Israel, and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will do so this week.

Meanwhile, European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, chief negotiator for the P5+1 in its talks with Iran, met with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and told him that the recent meeting in Istanbul between her deputy Helga Schmid and Ali Bagheri, deputy to chief Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, did not result in any progress. Ashton said that she would nonetheless continue the process until "she could show Europeans that she had done everything possible before abandoning the diplomatic track."

Romney visits Israel, says "ayatollahs...testing our moral defenses"

Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, arrived in Israel where he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In a speech, Romney said, "My message to the people of Israel and the leaders of Iran is one and the same: I will not look away, and neither will my country." He added, "Make no mistake: The ayatollahs in Tehran are testing our moral defenses. They want to know who will object, and who will look the other way."

Dan Senor, Romney's chief foreign policy adviser, said, "If Israel has to take action on its own, in order to stop Iran from developing that capability the governor would respect that decision.... Gov. Romney recognizes Israel's right to defend itself, and that it is right for America to stand with it."

Netanyahu told Romney he "couldn't agree more" with his remarks regarding Iran. "We have to be honest and say that all the sanctions and diplomacy so far have not set back the Iranian program by one iota," declared the prime minister. "And that's why I believe that we need a strong and credible military threat coupled with the sanctions to have a chance to change that situation."

As noted here in March, addressing the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Romney brought out an innovative interpretation of the stated position of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog group, claiming, "We may not know when Iran will secure sufficient fissile material to threaten the entire world, but the IAEA warns that that hour is fast approaching."

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