Israel and the United States have reached a general understanding regarding the Iranian threat to the Middle East, said the top American general, USA Today reported on Tuesday.
"I think they are satisfied that we have the capability to use a military option if the Iranians choose to stray off the diplomatic path," said Gen. Martin Dempsey of the Israeli officials he met.
"I think they are satisfied we have the capability. I think they believe we will use it," he emphasized.
Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz and Gen. Martin Dempsey in Jerusalem (Photo: EPA)
Gen. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently returned from a two-day visit to Israel to discuss regional security issues and cooperation between Israel and the US.
He met with with a number of Israeli officials including his counterpart, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon.
After weeks of political tension between the two close allies, set off by a number of controversial remarks against Secretary of State John Kerry uttered by Ya'alon, the visit was a chance to assure the close cooperation between the two defense establishments remained unmarred by politics.
Dempsey admitted the two allies have not always agreed on the threat assessment of Iran and the American role in stopping the Islamic Republic from manufacturing nuclear weapons, but said Israel and the US were much closer in their appraisal of the situation.
"Our clocks are more harmonized than they were two years ago," said Dempsey, "They just wanted to know that we are maintaining and continuing to refine our military options."
Some of the tension between the two came to light after the US and other world powers negotiated an interim agreement with Iran in which sanctions would be softened if Tehran took agreed-upon steps to control its nuclear program.
Israeli officials have publicly expressed their concern with that agreement, and the intelligence estimates over the timetable for an Iranian nuclear weapon have often been at odds.