August 31, 2012
The highest ranking officer in the United States military has announced that he is against American participation in any Israeli-led attack on Iran, even as pressure to destroy the Islamic Republic’s rumored nuclear program remain unrelieved.
Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters in London on Thursday that an Israeli attack would “clearly delay but probably not destroy Iran’s nuclear program,” adding that he was against US cooperation in a unilateral assault.
“I don’t want to be complicit if they [Israel] choose to do it,” Dempsey told reporters.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been adamant that the nation’s nuclear facilities exist solely for peaceful purposes and that the country is not in the market for procuring nuclear warheads, a sentiment echoed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who earlier this week told heads of state, “Our motto is nuclear energy for all and nuclear weapons for none.”
So far, no foreign nations have been able to independently confirm or deny that claim. On Thursday, however, the United Nation’s International Atomic Energy Agency wrote that Iran has been uncooperative with attempts to investigate their facilities and suggested that they could be procuring nukes.
Israel, a close ally of the United States, has also claimed that Iran’s intentions are motivated by manufacturing of warheads. In May of this year, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak stated, “Our position has not changed. The world must stop Iran from becoming nuclear. All options remain on the table.”
From an executive standpoint, President Obama has also remained willing to strike if necessary, but has not pushed for pressure on Iran aside from the sanctions currently imposed by the United States.
“I also don’t, as a matter of sound policy, go around advertising exactly what our intentions are. But (both) governments recognize that when the United States says it is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon, we mean what we say,” President Obama said earlier this year to The Atlantic.
On Thursday, Gen. Dempsey commented that a strike against Iran over fears of their nuclear program, if conducted, could be without merit and might even erode the pro-Israeli alliance currently in place.
“International coalition” applying pressure on Iran “could be undone if [Iran] was attacked prematurely,” Dempsey said, adding that “Intelligence did not reveal intentions” to procure nukes.
Gen. Dempsey was in the UK to attend the Paralympic Games, where he is serving as the head of the U.S. delegation.