Obama “absolutely” denies US go-ahead for Israel to bomb Iran. Administration divided

Talking to CNN from Moscow Tuesday, July 7, US President Barack Obama “absolutely” denied a Washington green light for Israel to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities, adding: “We can’t dictate to other countries what their security interests are” – but it is also true that it is US policy to try and resolve the issue “through diplomatic channels.”
This statement directly contradicted the words of US vice president Joseph Biden, who two days earlier told ABC television that the US would not stand in the way of Israeli military action against the Iranian nuclear program. He was the first senior US official to say publicly that it is up to Israel as a sovereign nation to decide “what’s in their interest and what they decide to do relative to Iran and anyone else.”
While Biden’s remarks are sometimes off-the-cuff and subject to “further clarification,” this time a genuine difference opinion appears to have developed between President Obama and his VP on the Iranian nuclear question.
debkafile‘s military sources stress that Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu has never specifically confronted President Obama on this question and so the inconsistencies in US public positions appear to reflect internal divergences within the administration on the handling of the Iranian nuclear program.
Netanyahu’s predecessor, ex-prime minister Ehud Olmert, did in fact apply to former president George W. Bush for his nod on a prospective Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear sites. Bush turned him down on this and on certain items of hardware Olmert requested for the air strike.
It would not be the first time that Biden has opted to go his own way on a burning issue. When Iran’s post-election street protests were at their peak in the third week of June, Biden criticized Obama for being over-cautious in condemning the Islamic regime for its violent suppression. He wanted tough US words rather than ambivalence.
In this case, the discrepancies may be stem partly from the venues of their respective interviews.
Obama was interviewed by CNN in Moscow in the middle of an argument over the missile shield the US plans to install in Poland and the Czech Republic which the Russians adamantly oppose as unnecessary because, they say, Iranian missiles pose no threat to East Europe. His two days of hard bargaining with president Medvedev and prime minister Putin have shown the US president that if he wants better relations with Moscow, he will have to give way on deploying the missile shield.
From that perspective, Biden’s assertion implying the US had given Israel the go-ahead to strike Iran caused more harm than good.
The vice president, in contrast, talked to ABC from Baghdad, just after supervising the US troop withdrawal from Iraqi towns. While there, he heard American commanders complaining bitterly about the way Iran was stirring up violence and instability in Iraq and the administration’s refusal to let them fight back.
Biden may have decided it was time to show Tehran a tough face and that diplomacy is not the only arrow in America’s quiver.

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