US Defence Secretary Robert Gates reassured Israel on Monday that Washingtons bid to talk Iran into giving up nuclear work was time-sensitive and worth pursuing,despite Tehrans reticence.
US President Barack Obama has put the quest for engagement with Iran at the core of US foreign policy. Israel,which says a nuclear-armed Iran would threaten its survival,has hinted at pre-emptive strikes should it deem diplomacy at a dead end.
A statement by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus office said he reaffirmed in his talks with Gates the need to use all means to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear military capability. During a visit to Israel,Gates affirmed Obamas hope for an Iranian response to the USs overtures in time for the UN General Assembly in late September.
I think,based on the information thats available to us,that the timetable that the President has laid out still seems to be viable and does not significantly increase the risks to anybody, Gates told reporters at a news conference with his Israeli counterpart,Ehud Barak. Netanyahus office said Gates explained to the Israeli leader,whom he met after his talks with Barak,that the US policy of engagement with Iran was limited in time.
Iran says that its uranium enrichment a process with bomb-making potential is for energy. It has rejected US-led demands to curb the programme. This,along with the fiercely anti-Israel rhetoric from Tehran,has stirred up war fears. There is a knock-on cost for Obamas efforts to revive Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking,as Israel widely believed to be West Asias only nuclear power has demanded that the perceived Iranian threat be neutralised first.