ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE - The United States Monday insisted it would not give up striving for a diplomatic solution to the Iran nuclear standoff despite a rising drumbeat of war speculation in Israel.

White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that Washington was committed to talks between world powers and Iran on its nuclear aspirations and believed there remained a window of time for them to work.

“We continue to believe there is time and space for diplomacy, the opportunity remains for Iran to take advantage of this process,” Carney told reporters on Air Force One.

In a possible reference to US conversations with the Netanyahu government, Carney said that Washington made clear to its “partners” that there was time to pursue a diplomatic course on a dual track with tightened sanctions.

“There is every reason to continue the P5 plus one talks while the time and space remains.”

The P5 plus one process groups the permanent five members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany.

The dispute between the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government on the state of Iran’s nuclear program has been repeatedly aired in coded statements from each side.

Israel wants to ensure Iran does not reach the “capability” to build nuclear weapons, in terms of the expertise, material and sufficient quantities of highly enriched uranium to do so.

Obama has stressed that his position, reinforced by Carney on Monday, is that he will stop Iran from “acquiring nuclear weapons” a step further down the path to developing an atomic arsenal than the Israeli red line.

Carney’s comments came as speculation in the Israeli press about a possible Israeli strike on Iran multiplied, with the Haaretz newspaper reporting that top Israeli officials believed time was fast approaching for a decision by the Netanyahu government.

His comments will further fan speculation of differences between President Barack Obama’s White House and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government on the timing of any military strike on Iran.

Also on Monday, the US said that its citizens can donate food and medicine to Iran without fear of prosecution after the heavily sanctioned nation was hit by twin earthquakes.

President Barack Obama’s administration has offered US assistance to Iranian victims of Saturday’s disaster, despite its campaign of economic sanctions against the clerical regime over its contested nuclear program.

READ MORE: The CSS sisters

“Our hearts go out to those people who are affected,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.

“Americans wishing to provide humanitarian assistance to Iranians during this time may donate food and medicine without obtaining an Iranian transactions regulations license,” she said, referring to sanctions exemptions.

Nuland said that “certain non-commercial personal financial transactions” to Iran remained legal. She said that the US offer of assistance “stays on the table,” even though Iran’s government has said that it does not need foreign help.

The National Iranian American Council, an advocacy group for the US-based community, has called on the Obama administration to ensure that relief efforts “are not obstructed due to the dispute between the US and Iranian governments.”

It said that president George W. Bush’s administration in 2003 issued a general license to allow relief organizations to provide assistance to Iran after the Bam earthquake killed some 31,000 people.

The Council “strongly supports a similar and hopefully more robust effort by the Obama administration today,” it said in a statement.

Obama sought dialogue with Iran early in his term. A White House condolence message for the earthquake was addressed to “the Iranian people” and not the government.