The top officer in the U.S. military, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, told the National Journal that the time has not come to decide on whether to use military force against Iran to curb its alleged push toward nuclear weapons. Speaking to the National Journal, Dempsey said:
I do think the path we’re on — the economic sanctions and the diplomatic pressure — does seem to me to be having an effect. I just think that it’s premature to be deciding that the economic and diplomatic approach is inadequate.
Neither the latest report from the International Atomic Energy Agency nor the most recent reported estimate of the U.S. intelligence community concluded that Iran has made a decision to build a nuclear bomb. And Haaretz reported last week that Israeli intelligence concurs with this view.
The Obama administration has pursued a dual-track approach so far of pressure and engagement, including a leveraging global diplomacy against Iran’s nuclear program — a record the President spoke about in his State of the Union address on Tuesday, expressing a continuing preference to resolving the crisis diplomatically. Facing the toughest sanctions yet from the U.S. and the European Union, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday signaled Iran was ready for nuclear talks.
In his interview, Dempsey “made clear he believed an approach involving military force wasn’t warranted at this point and could carry unforeseen risks,” National Journal reported, adding that Dempsey’s comments “represented the first time senior Pentagon officials weighed in” on the issue.