The Independent

January 17, 2012

JERUSALEM – General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, will meet military and intelligence officials, including Defence Minister Ehud Barak, during a trip that Israel’s media has interpreted as an effort to sound out the Jewish state’s intentions towards Iran.

News of the visit came as the Foreign Secretary William Hague refused to rule out military action in retaliation for what the West believes is Tehran’s attempts to manufacture a nuclear weapon.

“We believe all options should be on the table,” he said. “That is part of the pressure on Iran, but we are clearly not calling for or advocating military action.” Mr Hague said the UK would seek tougher economic sanctions against the country.

Israel views Tehran’s nuclear ambitions as an existential threat. Its increasingly strident rhetoric has stoked fears it could resort to a military strike if it considers diplomatic efforts to isolate Iran have failed.

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