Gates: Threat of force not the only way to deter Iran
US defense secretary responds to Netanyahu’s assertion that only military option will stop Iran’s nuclear program; says sanctions are hitting Islamic Republic hard and should be given more time.
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Monday said that although military action against Iran remains an option, the threat of force is not the only way to stop Iran from building a nuclear bomb. Gates was speaking during an official visit to Australia.
The comments from the US defense secretary came in response to Israeli assertions on Sunday that Iran would put a stop to its nuclear ambitions only if it feared military action would be taken against it. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, visiting the US this week, is turning up pressure on the Obama administration to take a tougher line.
According to diplomatic officials, Netanyahu told US Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday that “the only way to ensure that Iran is not armed with nuclear weapons is to create a credible threat of military action against it, unless it stops its race to obtain nuclear weapons.”
The two men met on the sidelines of the General Assembly in New Orleans, an annual event sponsored by the Jewish Federations of North America.