The arrival of White House National Security Adviser Tom Donilon was the latest in a series of high-level meetings between Israel and the U.S. Last month, Gen. Dempsey visited Israel, and next month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to visit the White House.
Mr. Donilon was set to meet with Mr. Netanyahu late Sunday and with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Monday before leaving.
Asked whether he believed Israel could be deterred from striking, Gen. Dempsey said: “I’m confident that they understand our concerns, that a strike at this time would be destabilizing and wouldn’t achieve their long-term objectives. But, I mean, I also understand that Israel has national interests that are unique to them.”
“I don’t think a wise thing at this moment is for Israel to launch a military attack on Iran,” he said. “I think Israel, like everyone else in the world, should be giving a real chance to the approach we have adopted on very serious economic sanctions and economic pressure and the readiness to negotiate with Iran.”
In a sign that the diplomatic pressure might be working, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said Sunday that a new round of talks with six world powers on the nuclear program will be held in Istanbul. Mr. Salehi didn’t give any timing for the talks.
The last round of talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany were held in Istanbul in January 2011 but ended in failure.
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