Pentagon chief urges more time over Iran standoff


Pentagon chief Leon Panetta on Wednesday reiterated US calls to “exhaust every effort” before considering military options for confronting Iran over its nuclear programme in top-level talks in Israel.
Speaking alongside Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak on a visit to an Iron Dome missile defence battery in the southern port town of Ashkelon, Panetta suggested there was still room for diplomatic manoeuvre.
“We have to exhaust every effort before” taking military action, he said.
“It is my responsibility as secretary of defence to provide the president with a full range of options, including military options should diplomacy fail,” he added.
Preventing a nuclear-armed Iran was “a top national security priority” for the administration of US President Barack Obama and in that respect “all options are on the table,” he said.
As Panetta arrived late on Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a series of TV interviews, in which he said he had not yet decided whether to strike Iran, which Israel and much of the West believes is trying to develop an atomic weapon under the cover of a civilian nuclear programme.
But at the same time, Netanyahu warned that Israel would not rely on anyone else to guarantee its security — not even Washington.
Asked how the Obama administration would react in the event of a unilateral Israeli strike, Panetta would only say: “We respect Israel’s sovereignty and independence,” without commenting further.
Barak said it was extremely unlikely that sanctions and diplomacy would convince Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions, which Tehran insists are purely peaceful in nature. “The probability (of that happening) is extremely low,” he remarked. “We’ve seen sanctions and diplomacy fail in the past.”
Despite the ongoing pressure on the Islamic republic, which was further ramped up a notch by Washington on Tuesday, Iran was continuing daily enrichment of “uranium needed for their weapon,” Barak said.
“We have clearly have something to lose by this stretched time,” he remarked.
Speaking ahead of his arrival in Israel, Panetta ruled out talks on “potential attack plans” with the Israelis.
“I think it’s the wrong characterisation to say that we’re going to be discussing potential attack plans,” he told reporters in Cairo. “What we are discussing are various contingencies on how we would respond.”
Washington, he said, was continuing to “work on a number of options in that area.” He did not give further details.
Speaking earlier, Barak thanked Panetta for bolstering ties between the two nations and said defence ties between Israel and the US were “stronger and tighter than they have ever been.”


  1. re: "Asked how the Obama administration would react in the event of a unilateral Israeli strike, Panetta would only say: 'We respect Israel’s sovereignty and independence.' "
    how do u think the obama admin wd react to a unilateral iranian strike on israel? u can bet that the usa wd not 'respect Iran’s sovereignty and independence.' but then the usa has never felt it needs to have a consistent response when different countries do the same thing. if an ally such as israel attacks, it's fine. if an ally such as israel has nuke weapons, its fine. if an ally such as israel uses torture, its fine. if an ally oppresses people and takes their land, homes, water, roads, employment, education-its all good with the usa.
    there just doesnt seem to be any sense of justice, fairness, even-handedness, or consistency in usa policies. why is the pak gov so willing to have the usa as a partner, knowing that the usa has no interest in pak, other than to use it for its own interests?

Comments are closed.