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US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman to visit Israel amid escalating tensions with Iran

Washington, Mon, 16 Jan 2012 ANI

Washington, Jan 16(ANI): Israel has confirmed that US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin Dempsey will arrive in the country to hold talks this week.


The move comes in the wake of escalating tensions between Iran and the US over the former's announcement of enriching its uranium programme at the Fordow facility.


The US would likely urge Israel to avoid taking any military action against nuclear Iran in the talks.


Israel had earlier warned that it would take a military action if economic sanctions fail to halt Iranian nuclear program.


"What we hope very much is the U.S. will realize that time is running out, the clock is ticking and action must be taken. And if military action is necessary, we hope very much the U.S. and the rest of the world will take it because, as I said, it's a threat to civilization as we know it, not just to Israel," Fox News quoted former Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Dan Gillerman, as saying.


General Dempsey's spokesperson, Colonel Dave Lapan, however, ruled out that the trip was finalized in the light of recent developments and stressed that it has been scheduled for months, and it includes a stop in Paris, Brussels as well as Tel Aviv.


"This whole trip has been in the works for months. Much as some want to read the Israel stop as connected to Iran, that's not the case," he said.


His statement came in the wake of reports that war games between the US and Israel had been delayed. Pentagon spokesperson Captain John Kirby confirmed the delay but said he would "not characterize the reason as fears over Iran."


Israel's military chief Lieutenant General Benny Gantzis is also expected to hold talks with NATO officials which would likely focus on Iran. (ANI)


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