Panetta asks for patience as Israel looks to halt Iran's nuclear program (+video)
Wednesday, US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss diplomacy when it comes to Iran's nuclear capabilities.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that U.S. statements of solidarity with Israel and its assurances that military strikes are still an option aren't working to convince Iran that the West is "serious about stopping them" from developing nuclear weapons.
Standing with a visiting Leon Panetta, Netanyahu dismissed the U.S. defense chief's counsel to give diplomacy more time to halt Iran's nuclear program.
"Right now the Iranian regime believes that the international community does not have the will to stop its nuclear program," Netanyahu said at the prime minister's residence in Jerusalem. "This must change, and it must change quickly because time to resolve this issue peacefully is running out."
Earlier Wednesday, at an Israeli defense site south of Tel Aviv, Panetta stood beside Defense Minister Ehud Barak to declare that the Obama administration is serious about the possibility of eventually resorting to military force against Iran. But he said all non-military measures must be exhausted first.
Barak sounded as unconvinced as the prime minister, saying he appreciated U.S. support but added that the probability of international sanctions ever compelling Iran to give up its nuclear program is "extremely low."
Netanyahu's and Barack's statements, taken together, dramatized the growing strains in U.S.-Israeli relations over what strategy to pursue with Iran.