Iran strike won’t cause rift with US, says Israel’s ambassador to Washington

Michael Oren says Israeli action against Iran would be understood by US public, Congress and president

Michael Oren. (photo credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash 90)
Michael Oren. (photo credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash 90)

Israel’s ambassador to the US said that an Israeli strike on Iran would garner widespread support among Americans, Israel Hayom reported Sunday.

Ambassador Michael Oren, who was in Israel this weekend, said that he doesn’t anticipate a rift between Washington and Jerusalem if Israel decides to take military action against Iran’s nuclear program.

“If Israel eventually decides to act against Iran, we will gain widespread support from the American public and the American Congress, and President Obama will continue to recognize our right to defend ourselves,” Oren was quoted as saying.

Oren added that he was feeling no pressure from the Americans to avoid action against Iran’s nuclear program.

“The Americans can hear the threats being uttered by Iran’s leaders who want to destroy Israel. It is obvious to me that they are asking themselves, ‘What would we do if we were in their place?'” he said.

Oren said that the upcoming US elections were not a consideration in the Iran debate. The only consideration is “Israel’s security, which is the responsibility of the prime minister and the government. [It is] a responsibility that no sovereign state would ever entrust to a different country, even to its greatest friend in the world, as the US is to Israel.”

Oren’s statements come amid signs of a deepening schism between Jerusalem and Washington over a solo Israeli strike on Iran.

The US is reportedly working to stop a unilateral strike by Israel, with Israel’s Channel 10 news claiming that US President Barack Obama will reportedly offer Israel assurances that Washington will back Jerusalem militarily if more time is given for sanctions and diplomatic measures against Iran to work.

In recent weeks, the Israeli media has ramped up reports that Israel is looking to hit Iran in the early fall, before the US presidential election. According to these reports, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are proponents of a strike, though much of the military brass opposes the move.

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