Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has given Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak a clear warning: don’t attack Iran. Panetta
pointed to a U.S. analysis that a strike on Iran would set back its nuclear program, which Iran says is only for peaceful purposes, by one or two years at most. It would also have implications for U.S. forces in the region.
He added that “thirdly, there are going to be economic consequences to that, that could impact not just on our economy but the world economy.”
What to do, then, if a military strike would be both pointless and harmful?
“The United States feels strongly,” Panetta says, “that the way to deal with [the problem] is to work with our allies, to work with the international community to develop the sanctions and the diplomatic efforts that would further isolate Iran.”
Barak, for his part, doesn’t seem reassured by that. He said it would “probably” take no more than “three-quarters” of a year before
no one can do anything practically about [Iran’s nukes] because the Iranians are gradually, deliberately entering into what I call a zone of immunity, by widening the redundancy of their plan, making it spread over many more sites with many more hidden elements.
Barak also warned that “a nuclear Iran would have deep repercussions for the Middle East, prompting countries like Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt to ‘turn nuclear’ and starting a countdown to putting nuclear materials in the hands of terrorists.”
Another who’s not impressed by the Obama administration’s Iran policy, which Panetta’s words can be assumed to reflect, is Illinois Republican Senator Mark Kirk. As he told FoxNews: “They are not taking any real action against the Central Bank of Iran or other parts of the nuclear program…and then telling everyone else that they shouldn’t do anything either.”
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