The U.S chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey warned that Iranian leaders could make a gross misjudgment of American will and suffer the consequences, the American Forces Press Service reported.
During a PBS interview, Dempsey explained that while Iran operates on its own internal logic, that doesn't mean Iranian leaders will be reasonable.
The chairman received some criticism for saying the Iranian regime was rational during recent Capitol Hill testimony.
"Rational meant to me that there is an evident pattern of behavior that this regime has followed since the Islamic Revolution that, first and foremost, expresses their intention to remain in power and to preserve the regime. Based on that, there are some things that we know they will respond to. That's a rational actor," he said.
"By that definition, he said, former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein also was a rational actor. Yet acting with his own logic, the Iraqi leader made a gross misjudgment of American will. The Iranians may find themselves in the same boat. They could get it wrong and suffer the consequences," he said.
American and Israeli leaders agree that Iran getting such a weapon would be an existential threat to Israel and hugely destabilizing to the entire Middle East, Dempsey said.
U.S. and Israeli leaders agree the threat exists and only diverge in timing. "We don't disagree in terms of intent. We disagree in terms of time," the chairman said.
Both U.S. and Israeli leaders say they are determined to prevent Iran from achieving a nuclear weapon. "All options are on the table. And it's a matter of time," the general said.
The current U.S. strategy is based on giving economic sanctions and diplomatic pressures time to work. The general would not go into how much time is available. "It's time not necessarily measured in terms of months or years, but in terms of our ability and capability to collect intelligence, to see if they cross any thresholds," he said.
by RTT Staff Writer
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