Sen. McCain says Israel is not at the moment considering a strike against Iran
McCain: Iran attack not on table at moment
McCain, who is in Israel with Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), spoke to reporters after meeting with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Israel's military chief of staff, Gabi Ashkenazi.
"I don't believe we are at the point of making that kind of decision, nor is the Israeli government, given the state that Iran is in now as far as the development of their nuclear weapons is concerned," McCain said in response to a question on whether he would support an Israeli military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities.
Neither McCain nor Graham gave blanket support for an Israeli attack in the future. McCain said it was impossible for him to say whether he would back such an operation because it "would be dictated by so many different circumstances." Graham said he would not support an Israeli strike now because there are "many options still available to us." Lieberman did not address the question directly.
All three senators described Iran's nuclear program in impassioned terms as one of the greatest strategic challenges in the Middle East today and said that a military option might be necessary if sanctions fail to halt the program.
"We will use every means that we have to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power through diplomatic and economic sanctions if we possibly can, through military action if we must," Lieberman said.
Iran's nuclear chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, was quoted by Iran's ISNA news agency on Wednesday as saying that sanctions could "slow down" Iran's nuclear activities but would not stop them.
-- Janine Zacharia