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Barak: No Iran strike imminent

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel said it has no imminent plan to attack Iran after the United States voiced doubt it would be consulted on such a strike.

“We have no intention, at this time, of taking action, but the State of Israel is far from being paralyzed by fear,” Barak said Thursday when asked in an interview about speculation that the Netanyahu government was preparing to hit Iranian nuclear facilities pre-emptively.

Speaking on Israel Radio, Barak said the country “must act calmly and quietly. We don’t need big wars.”

On Wednesday, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, said Jerusalem might not share Washington’s confidence in the efficacy of stepped-up sanctions designed to curb Iran’s nuclear program.

“And because they don’t and because to them this is an existential threat, I think probably that it’s fair to say that our expectations are different right now,” he told Reuters.

Asked whether Israel would alert the United States ahead of time if it chose to attack Iran unilaterally, Dempsey said, “I don’t know.”

A recent precedent, Israel’s 2007 strike on a Syrian desert site that the United States described as a fledgling nuclear reactor, would suggest such doubt is not well-founded. Former President George W. Bush and his vice president, Dick Cheney, wrote in their memoirs that while their administration did not “green light” the Israeli raid, they were made aware by then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that it was likely. 

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