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By ANNE GEARAN, AP National Security Writer Anne Gearan, Ap National Security Writer – 1 hr 9 mins ago
JERUSALEM – Tensions between Israel and the United States over Iran bubbled up in high-level talks Monday in which Defense Minister Ehud Barak bluntly told U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates that "no option" should be ruled out.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office subsequently described the talks as occurring "in a highly positive atmosphere."
But before that, the two sides seemed to differ pointedly over a potential military strike to thwart Tehran's progress on the nuclear front.
The visiting Gates urged patience, but Barak declared: "We clearly believe that no option should be removed from the table. This is our policy; we mean it. We recommend to others to take the same position, but we cannot dictate it to anyone."
While the United States also reserves the right to use force if need be, the Obama administration is playing down that possibility while it tries to draw Iran into talks about its disputed nuclear program and other topics. Gates said Washington still hopes to have an initial answer in the fall about negotiations.
"The timetable the president laid out still seems to be viable and does not significantly raise the risks to anybody," Gates said.
The statement issued from Netanyahu's office acknowledged that "a large part" of the discussion here had been devoted to Iran.
"Secretary Gates stated that the U.S. and Israel see eye-to-eye regarding the Iranian nuclear threat and explained that the U.S. engagement with Tehran will not be open-ended," it said.