Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Israel is facing an “existential” threat from Iran that the United States does not view with the same urgency.
Dempsey made the remarks to reporters late Sunday while on a flight to Afghanistan, and they were reported by the French news agency AFP.
Dempsey said he speaks regularly with his Israeli counterpart, Benny Gantz.
“We compare intelligence, we discuss regional implications, and we’ve admitted to each other that our clocks are turning at different rates,” he said, according to AFP, and that Israel is “living with an existential concern that we are not living with.”
Dempsey also said he and the U.S. military don’t feel any pressure from Israel to back a unilateral Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear sites. He also repeated his opinion that an attack by Israel would delay, but not destroy, Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
“You can take two countries and interpret the same intelligence and come out with two different conclusions,” he said, according to AFP. “I’d suggest to you that’s what’s really happening here.”
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