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General: U.S. military can’t stop Iran from making nukes
Question of the Day
The top U.S. commander in the Middle East said Tuesday that the United States, alone, cannot stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, as Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta promised that military force against Iran remains an option if diplomacy fails.
The contrasting statements came a delicate time for Israel, as the Jewish state presses for U.S. assurances to strike suspected Iranian nuclear sites if Iran remains undeterred by diplomacy and tough international sanctions.
The Obama administration, meanwhile, is urging Israel to give more time to diplomacy.
Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, head of the U.S. Central Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the United States has few options to stop the Iranians from building an atomic bomb.
“The best we can do is to delay them,” he said. “Only the Iranian people can stop this program.”
”We want diplomacy to work. We will back this diplomacy with strong and increasing pressure, and we will keep all options - including military action - on the table to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” he said.
“As the president has made clear, the United States does not bluff. The president has shown that we will do whatever is necessary to protect our people, to protect our allies and to protect our interests.”
“Israel has waited for diplomacy to work. None of us can afford to wait much longer,” he said.
Mr. Obama on Tuesday told reporters in Washington that he believes the West still has more time to stop Iran.
“This notion that somehow we have a choice to make in the next week or two weeks or month or two months is not borne out by the facts,” he said.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Kristina Wong is a national security reporter for The Washington Times, covering defense, foreign policy and intelligence affairs. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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