Panetta: Israel has not decided to attack Iran


(JTA) — U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told a Senate committee that he does not believe Israel has decided definitely to attack Iran’s nuclear infrastructure.

Panetta also told the Armed Services Committee Tuesday that the United States and Israel have "common cause" on Iran to prevent the Islamic Republic from producing a nuclear weapon, and that the Obama administration does not think Israel has made a decision to strike at Iran’s nuclear installations in order to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons.

The committee said it was concerned by a Washington Post column last month by David Ignatius reporting that Panetta “believes there is a strong likelihood that Israel will strike Iran in April, May or June.” The column did not quote Panetta directly.

Panetta testified that it is important to keep the international community united against Iran and adhering to tough sanctions.

“We’ve made very clear that they are not to develop a nuclear weapon, that they are not to close the Straits of Hormuz,” Panetta said.

Israel blamed Iran for the attacks Monday targeting Israeli embassies in India and the former Soviet republic of Georgia, and for explosions Tuesday in Thailand.

Recommended from JTA