Officials said the administration has placed heavy pressure on Israel
against an attack on Iran for at least another year. They said the Obama
administration would need a year to determine whether sanctions on Iran were
slowing down its nuclear weapons program. Officials said the United Nations
Security Council could approve a sanctions package against Iran by June.
"They're [Israel] not going to do that [attack Iran]," Biden said in a
television interview on April 22.
Officials said the Israeli and U.S. intelligence communities have
maintained their disagreement over whether Iran was capable of producing
nuclear weapons. They said the Israeli community has determined that Teheran
has already achieved nuclear weapons capability while Washington believes
this could take another one to two years.
"Military force [against Iran] is an option of last resort," U.S.
Defense Undersecretary Michele Flournoy said. "It's off the table in the
The Obama administration also linked U.S. efforts to stop Iran's nuclear
weapons program to the establishment of a Palestinian state. U.S. National
Security Advisor James Jones said Israel's construction policies in
Jerusalem and the West Bank were undermining the international campaign
"One of the ways that Iran exerts influence in the Middle East is by
exploiting the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict," Jones told the Washington
Institute for Near East Policy on April 21. "Ending this conflict, achieving
peace between Israelis and Palestinians and establishing a sovereign
Palestinian state would therefore take such an evocative issue away from
Iran, Hizbullah, and Hamas."
Jones also linked Iran's nuclear weapons program to an Israeli
withdrawal from the Golan Heights. The former general said an Israeli peace
treaty with Syria would block Teheran's efforts to develop or acquire
"Peace between Israel and Syria, if it is possible, could have a
transformative effect on the region," Jones said.
During his address, Jones, who cited American aid, exercises and
strategic dialogue, did not discuss Israeli requests for a range of U.S.
military equipment and weapons over the last year. Obama has not approved
one major Israeli weapons request since he entered office in January 2009.
"Our military benefits from Israel and its innovations in technology,
from shared intelligence, from exercises that help our readiness and joint
training that enhances our capabilities and from lessons learned in Israel’s
own battles against terrorism and asymmetric threats," Jones said.