Friday, January 20, 2012

US army chief in Israel for Iran talks

Chairman of the US military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey (file photo)

Source: Press TV

Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey is in an official visit to Israel to confer with Israeli officials on Iran's nuclear program.

General Dempsey arrived in Tel Aviv on Thursday for a 24-hour visit, and is expected to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, President Shimon Peres, and military chief of staff Lieutenant General Benny Gantz.

The top US general's visit, which is his first to Israel since taking over as US military chief in October 2011, comes as the two allies are coordinating efforts to curb Iran's nuclear energy program.

The US, Israel, and their allies accuse Iran of pursuing a military nuclear program and have used this allegation as a pretext to sway the United Nations Security Council to impose four rounds of sanctions on Iran.

Based on these accusations, they have also repeatedly threatened Tehran with the "option" of a military strike.

The pressure against Tehran increased in November 2011 after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) accused Iran of conducting activities related to developing nuclear weapons before 2003, adding that these activities "may still be ongoing."

Iran dismissed the allegation as "unbalanced, unprofessional and prepared with political motivation and under political pressure mostly by the US."

Tehran argues that as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the IAEA, it has the right to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

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