Friday, 18 May 2012

US ready to attack Iran should other measures fail

According to Washington envoy to Israel Dan Shapiro, the US is ready to attack Iran should other measures fail to stop it developing nuclear weapons. Shapiro said the US hoped diplomacy and sanctions would convince Tehranto revise its nuclear programme, but a military option was in place and "ready".

US President Barack Obama has previously said military action was a possibility. The US and various other world powers are worried Tehran is developing a nuclear bomb, an accusation it denies. Talks between the Islamic Republic and six world powers are due to resume in Baghdad on 23 May.
The comments made by Shapiro, at the Israel Bar Association on Tuesday 15 April, were obtained by AP news agency.

Speaking about Tehran, Shapiro said: “It would be preferable to resolve this diplomatically through the use of pressure than to use military force. But that doesn't mean that option is not fully available. Not just available, but it's ready. The necessary planning has been done to ensure that it's ready."
On Thursday 17 April, Pentagon spokesman George Little stressed that Washington's policy on the issue "has not changed at all". He explained: "The ambassador's comments are perfectly in line with what we have been saying for a while with respect to Iran. Our focus in the US is on using diplomatic and economic bring pressure to bear on the Iranians to do the right thing."

Furthermore, Little added that Shapiro "was absolutely correct to say that no options are off the table but those options are not something that are being contemplated at this time".

Both the US and Israel have said they consider military force a last resort to stop Iran using its uranium enrichment programme to make weapons. In March, Obama said there was "still a window that allows for a diplomatic resolution," which would be preferable as a strike on Iran would cause major problems in regional stability.

Sources: AP, BBC News, Bloomberg

For more news and expert analysis about Iran, please see Iran Strategic Focus.

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