Congressman Confirms High-Level U.S.-Israel Spat Over Iran

Thursday, 06 Sep 2012 07:51 PM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blew up at the U.S. ambassador last month because he was "at wit's end" over what he sees as the Obama administration's lack of clarity on Iran's nuclear program, a U.S. congressman who was at the meeting said.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, a Republican, made his first public comments about the late August meeting in Israel in an interview with Michigan's WJR radio on Tuesday.

His disclosure comes only hours before President Barack Obama will be at the Democratic National Convention to accept the party's nomination as its candidate in the November election, in which the level of the Obama administration's support for Israel has become a contentious topic.

Editor's Note: Will Obama Be Defeated? Vote Here!

"Right now the Israelis don't believe that this administration is serious when they say all options are on the table, and more importantly neither do the Iranians. That's why the program is progressing," Rogers said.

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful energy purposes.

Israel is facing growing international pressure not to unilaterally attack Iran's nuclear infrastructure and the United States has made clear it opposes any such strike.

Rogers said if the United States does not show Israel more clarity on where it draws "red lines" on Iran's nuclear program, then Israel might conduct a strike.

"If I were betting my house today, I would guess that they probably will do it if we don't have a change in more clear red lines from the United States," he said.

The State Department had no immediate comment. A spokesman for Israel's embassy in Washington declined to comment.

The spat between Netanyahu and U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro appears to confirm a deep chasm over how to deal with Iran, which the two allies have tried to play down publicly.

Obama has vowed to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, but says there is still time for sanctions and diplomacy to work. The White House says it has brokered international oil and banking sanctions that are far tougher on Iran than previous administrations achieved.

The original purpose of the meeting was for Netanyahu and Rogers to discuss intelligence cooperation and other matters. But it "devolved" into a sharp exchange in which Netanyahu confronted Shapiro with a lot of frustration about the lack of clarity on the administration's position on Iran's nuclear program, Rogers said.

"The uncertainty about where the United States' position is on those questions has created lots of problems and anxiety that I think doesn't serve the world well and doesn't serve peace well," Rogers said.

In an interview with an Israeli television station on Sunday, Shapiro dismissed an Israeli newspaper account of the heated closed-door exchange as "a very silly story" that did not reflect what actually happened in the meeting where the conversations were "friendly and professional." Netanyahu has not commented on the exchange, which was first reported by the daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth.

Israel has its own undeclared nuclear arsenal that is believed to contain as many as 200 warheads.

Editor's Note: Will Obama Be Defeated? Vote Here!

Rogers said the Israeli and U.S. timelines differed on how quickly Iran could put a nuclear weapon on a missile, if it decided to move in that direction.

Netanyahu believes "if they decide to do the dash it could be four weeks to eight weeks," while U.S. intelligence analysts believe it would "take a little longer than that," Rogers said. "But the problem is nobody really knows for sure."

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Obama to Deport 'Felons, Not Families'

Thursday, 20 Nov 2014 18:15 PM

President Barack Obama will order immigration officers to deport felons, not families as he wields executive power to  . . .

Ex-SEAL to Newsmax: Why I Shot Bin Laden in the Head

Thursday, 20 Nov 2014 17:22 PM

Robert O'Neill, the former Navy SEAL who shot and killed Osama bin Laden, told Newsmax TV that the 9/11 mastermind signe . . .

Obamacare Signups Inflated by 380,000 Dental Subscribers

Thursday, 20 Nov 2014 17:17 PM

Obamacare signups were inflated with 380,000 dental subscribers, falsely jacking up the total number of enrollees above  . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved