Monday, February 20, 2012

US Gen. Dempsey: Iran rational actor, not after nukes

Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey

Source: Press TV

A top US military official has described Iran as a rational actor in the international arena, stating that the Islamic Republic is not after producing nuclear weapons.

Speaking in a nationally televised interview with the CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS” show on Sunday, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey said, “We are of the opinion that Iran is a rational actor.”

Dempsey pointed out that US officials aren't convinced Iran has decided to build atomic armaments.

“We also know, or we believe we know that Iran has not decided to make a nuclear weapon,” General Dempsey said.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the top US general also described any Israeli attack on Iran as “destabilizing.”

“It’s not prudent at this point to decide to attack Iran,” General Dempsey said, adding that the US government is confident the Israelis “understand our concerns.”

The remarks come as Israeli officials have ramped up their war rhetoric over the past few weeks, threatening Iran with military strikes in case the US-led Western sanctions against the country fail to force Tehran to halt its civilian nuclear program.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on February 9 that, “Israel has a large selection of ways, when the world of international sanctions fails to persuade Iran to halt its nuclear program.”

There is growing worry in Israel, however, about the grave consequences of any Israeli attack against the Iranian nation.

“The whole region will go up in flames. Thousands of rockets will fall on Israel. In the initial days, hundreds of them will fall on Tel Aviv. Then we'll be in a war that goes on for months. The economy will crash. Tel Aviv will become a frontier town,” reported leading Israeli daily Ha’aretz on February 11, quoting a senior opposition member of the regime.

Despite the widely publicized claims by the US, Israel and some of their European allies that Iran's nuclear program may include a military aspect, Iran insists on its civilian nature, arguing that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it has the right to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

The IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence indicating that Tehran's civilian nuclear program has been diverted towards nuclear weapons production.

This is while the Israeli regime is widely known to possess between 200 and 400 nuclear warheads. Furthermore, Tel Aviv refuses to allow its nuclear facilities to come under international regulatory inspectors and rejects any international nuclear regulatory agreements.

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