U.S.: Israel "supportive" on future Iran sanctions (REUTERS) By Dan Williams JERSALEM, ISRAEL 06/04/12 12:07pm EDT)
Reuters News Service
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(Reuters) - The United States is conferring with Israel about new
sanctions planned against Iran should international negotiations this
month fail to curb the Islamic Republic´s nuclear program, a U.S.
official said on Monday.
The comment offered a strong hint that Washington is continuing to
apply the brakes on any plan by Israel to attack Iranian nuclear
Israel has signaled increasing impatience with the lack of progress
towards circumscribing the nuclear program during the negotiations
involving Iran, the United States and five other world powers. The
third round of talks will be hosted by Russia on June 18-19.
"If we don´t get a breakthrough in Moscow there is no question we
will continue to ratchet up the pressure," David Cohen, U.S. Treasury
undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, told Haaretz
newspaper during a visit to Israel.
The United States and European Union have already made clear they
will stiffen sanctions should Iran pursue uranium enrichment, a
process that can yield fuel for warheads though it insists the
objective is civilian energy and medical isotopes.
An Israeli official who met Cohen told Reuters that the message on
sanctions was welcomed.
"These are things we have heard before, but when you hear it from the
top guy on sanctions, it´s encouraging," said the official, who
declined to be identified.
Cohen stressed in the interview with Haaretz the depth of the U.S.-
"We have today and over the past years had very close cooperation
with the Israeli government across a range of our sanctions
programs," he said. "They are creative. They are supportive and we
will continue to consult with the Israelis."
Echoing those remarks, the Israeli official described the discussions
as "daily ping-pong".
Cohen made similar comments to Army Radio, a major Israeli
broadcaster, during his 36-hour visit, when he was to meet with Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu´s senior security staff.
In a speech last week, Netanyahu said world powers must both beef up
sanctions and demand an immediate end to all uranium enrichment by
Iran, whose mid-level 20 percent purification has been the focus of
Israel is reputed to have the region´s only atomic arsenal and many
international experts, including the top U.S. military officer,
General Martin Dempsey, have voiced doubt in the ability of its
conventional forces to deliver lasting damage to Iran´s distant,
dispersed and well-defended nuclear facilities.
The Israelis have hinted that delaying Iran´s progress could justify
a unilateral strike. Ensuing Iranian reprisals would risk drawing in
the United States, which has not ruled out force against Tehran but
is loath to launch a new military campaign in the Muslim world.
(Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Michael Roddy) (© Thomson
Reuters 2012. 06/04/12)
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