U.S., Israel coordinated on steps against Iran: envoy (REUTERS) By Ori Lewis JERSALEM, ISRAEL 02/23/12 5:35pm EST)
Reuters News Service
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(Reuters) - The United States and Israel are coordinated on steps
being taken to combat Iran´s perceived nuclear threat and the two
allies have been planning to ensure "all other options" are
available, the U.S. ambassador to Israel said on Thursday.
Ambassador Dan Shapiro said both countries were hoping the economic
sanctions in place would persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear
ambitions, and they were having a "significant effect" but had not
yet achieved their goal.
"It is clear that Iran is under significant economic strain ... (but
the sanctions have) not yet achieved the goal, which is to get that
nuclear program stopped ... for both us and for Israel this is the
preferred strategy, to achieve that all-important objective," he told
U.S.-Jewish community leaders.
Shapiro added: "It´s also true, as the president has said ... we are
coordinated with our Israeli partners ... that other options, all
other options, are on the table to achieve that goal ... the
necessary planning has been done to ensure that those options are
actually available if at any time they become necessary."
Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, although a
U.N. nuclear watchdog mission ended in failure this week when the
Islamic Republic denied officials permission to visit a site
suspected of housing a facility to test explosives.
The failure of the visit by the officials from the International
Atomic Energy Agency could hamper any resumption of wider nuclear
negotiations between Iran and six world powers - the United States,
China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany.
Shapiro said a constant stream of visits by senior U.S. officials to
Israel and vice versa were ensuring both administrations remained
coordinated on how to tackle Iran´s nuclear ambitions.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits Washington early
next month and will meet President Barack Obama on March 5 with Iran
set to top the agenda.
The Obama administration has shown signs of being increasingly
concerned about the lack of any assurance from Israel it would
consult Washington before launching strikes on Iran´s nuclear sites.
But Shapiro indicated U.S.-Israel coordination was intimate and
"It´s the kind of dialogue, I assure you, you would want two allies
facing a common security challenge to be having. It is that quality,
it´s that detail, it´s that (intimacy) and it´s exactly what should
be happening. It will continue when Prime Minister Netanyahu visits
Washington," Shapiro said. (© Thomson Reuters 2012. 02/23/12)
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