Top Israeli official: Conflicting U.S. remarks hurt efforts to press Iran

Though Israeli officials are deeply divided over whether Israel should attack Iran in the coming months, they are united on one point – a flood of contradictory statements about Iran’s nuclear program by U.S. officials in recent weeks is undermining efforts to increase pressure on Tehran.

Many of these American statements, a senior Israeli government official told Haaretz, have led Iran to believe there is no real danger of an attack on its nuclear program, and therefore, there is no need to halt it.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, front, embracing Defense Minister Ehud Barak upon arrival at the Pentagon in Washington on Thursday.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak held a series of meetings on the Iranian issue in Washington this week, including with Vice President Joe Biden and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Next week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be in Washington, where he will discuss the issue with U.S. President Barack Obama.