DIPLOMACY

Iran Dialogue Not 'Open-Ended'

Barack Obama's emphasis on diplomacy over military bluster has been praised in many circles. But there is at least one place where dialogue is not favored: Israel. While in Jerusalem, Defense Secretary Robert Gates found himself having to clarify the U.S.' offer to negotiate with Iran, saying the deadline for diplomacy was not "open-ended," and that there would likely be further sanctions should the talks fail to occur. The defense minister of Israel, Ehud Barak, did not mince words when explaining that he disagreed with dialogue, adding that "all means" remain available should Iran be close to obtaining a nuclear weapon. Israel not surprisingly, is frustrated with the U.S. given the different messages coming from the major players at the White House. Vice President Joe Biden said the U.S. "cannot dictate" to Israel how it should defend itself, while Obama recently said, the U.S. is "absolutely not" giving its approval for a strike against Iran.