Dempsey says he did not advise against Israel strike on Iran


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Senate committee that he did not advise Israel against striking Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Dempsey appeared Tuesday before the Senate Budget Committee, where he said he had spoken to Israeli officials about the timing of such a strike.

"We’ve had a conversation with them about time, the issue of time,” Dempsey told the panel about his discussions with Israel.

Dempsey was in Israel late last month and met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, President Shimon Peres and his counterpart, Benny Gantz.

In an interview with CNN less than two weeks ago, Dempsey said that an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities would be "destabilizing."

“It’s not prudent at this point to decide to attack Iran,” Dempsey said in an interview on CNN. “A strike at this time would be destabilizing and wouldn’t achieve their long-term objectives. I wouldn’t suggest, sitting here today, that we’ve persuaded them that our view is the correct view and that they are acting in an ill-advised fashion."

Asked during Tuesday’s Senate hearing whether a military strike on Iran by the United States was off the table, Dempsey said "Absolutely not."    

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