Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey
“We can’t afford to underestimate our potential adversaries by writing them off as irrational,” said Dempsey, speaking before the US Senate Budget Committee hearing on Tuesday.
Dempsey also emphasized that he did not counsel officials of the Israeli regime against a military strike on Iran and only discussed timing issues with them, The Jerusalem Post reported.
General Dempsey had previously warned that an Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear facilities would be imprudent, destabilizing and would not serve the interests of anybody, especially the Israelis.
He had also described Iran as a rational actor in the international arena, stating that the Islamic Republic is not after producing nuclear weapons. “We are of the opinion that Iran is a rational actor.”
Dempsey had pointed out that US officials aren't convinced that Iran has decided to build atomic armaments.
“We also know, or we believe we know that Iran has not decided to make a nuclear weapon,” General Dempsey said.
Israeli officials have ramped up their war rhetoric over the past few weeks, threatening Iran with military strikes.
There is growing worry in Israel, however, about the grave consequences of any Israeli attack against the Iranian nation.
Senior Israeli lawmaker Zeev Bielski told Reuters on February 28 that Tel Aviv’s defense capabilities do not extend far enough to protect Israel in case of a retaliatory attack by Iran.
Almost one in four Israelis lack access to bomb shelters, whether communal or reinforced rooms in private homes, Bielski said.
Meanwhile, leading Israeli daily Ha’aretz on February 11, quoting a senior Israeli opposition figure, warned against an Israeli attack on Iran.
“The whole region will go up in flames. Thousands of rockets will fall on Israel. In the initial days, hundreds of them will fall on Tel Aviv. Then we'll be in a war that goes on for months. The economy will crash. Tel Aviv will become a frontier town,” the report said.
Despite the widely publicized claims by the US, Israel and some of their European allies that Iran's nuclear program may include a military aspect, Iran insists on its civilian nature, arguing that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it has the right to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
The IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence indicating that Tehran's civilian nuclear program has been diverted towards nuclear weapons production.
This is while the Israeli regime is widely known to possess between 200 and 400 nuclear warheads. Furthermore, Tel Aviv refuses to allow its nuclear facilities to come under international regulatory inspectors and rejects any international nuclear regulatory agreements.