Did US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, receive a “respite” on Iran during his recent trip? Media coverage seemed obsessively focused on this question (some of its reps were quite hopeful in their tweets), so let’s have a look (in brief: by reader demand, we’re trying to cut down the word count).
Something strange about this report by the New York Times’ Thom Shanker. Referring to promised weapons systems to Israel, he writes:
“Mr. Hagel said the weapons sales served as “another very clear signal to Iran.” But American officials also made it clear that the new arms should not be interpreted as tacit approval for Israel to accelerate planning for an attack on Iran.”
Elsewhere, the accompanying photo caption reads:
“Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in Jerusalem on Sunday. He cautioned Israel against unilateral strikes on Iran’s nuclear program.”
Nothing in the report indicates the secretary of defense himself “cautioned” Israel. And this AP report– which would be wrong only if the Times‘ “American officials” are actually Hagel – clearly suggests otherwise.
About that “respite” from having to deal with the Iranian crisis with urgency: Seems to us that the media stuffed what they heard through a wishful thinking filter. For while omitted in reports, Its defense minister did say:
“the Israel strategy regarding the military nuclear aspirations of this Iranian regime is very clear. By one way or another, the military nuclear project of Iran should be stopped.”
Moreover, Israel’s’ prime minister said in a brief statement (especially for him) that Iran “is a challenge that Israel cannot accept, and as you and President Obama have repeatedly said, Israel must be able to defend itself, by itself, against any threat.”
Finally, don’t forget the Sunni world, which has its own expectations re Iran.