US Vice President Joe Biden seemed to give Israel a green light for military action to eliminate Iran's nuclear threat, saying the US "cannot dictate to another sovereign nation what they can and cannot do."
Israel considers Iran its most dangerous adversary and is wary of hard-line Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who just won a disputed re-election. He repeatedly has called for Israel to be wiped off the map and contends the Holocaust is a "myth."
Israel and the US accuse Iran of seeking to develop weapons under the cover of a nuclear power programme. Iran denies that.
"Israel can determine for itself - it's a sovereign nation - what's in their interest and what they decide to do relative to Iran and anyone else," Biden told ABC's This Week in an interview broadcast on Sunday.
"Whether we agree or not. They're entitled to do that. Any sovereign nation is entitled to do that. But there is no pressure from any nation that's going to alter our behaviour as to how to proceed," Biden said.
The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says it prefers to see Iran's nuclear programme stopped through diplomacy but has not ruled out a military strike.