By BENNY MARTINEZ
Talk Radio News Service
WASHINGTON – Defense Secretary Leon Panetta Tuesday reaffirmed the administration’s claims that Israel has not yet committed itself to carrying out a military strike against Iran.
Appearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee to defend the White House’s budget request, Panetta faced questions over a recent David Ignatius column in the Washington Post that suggested the Secretary believes there is a “strong likelihood” for a strike within the coming months.
“As the president has suggested, we do not think that Israel has made that decision,” Panetta said.
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) pressed the secretary further, asking if he had a personal position on the feasibility of a strike.
“I do not,” Panetta replied.
Tension surrounding Iran’s nuclear capabilities has put possible military actions between the two nations on the forefront. The Obama administration has sought to defuse the standoff by applying stricter sanctions against Iran’s central bank.
Panetta reiterated that the Obama White House shares a common cause with Israel in ensuring that Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon, but said that the international community should continue to work to isolate Iran as an alternative to military action.