- The Washington Times - Monday, April 19, 2010

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on Sunday said he drafted options — diplomatic and military — for dealing with the prospect of Iran building a nuclear weapon in January, and he dismissed a recent media report on his memo as inaccurate.

A report in the New York Times on Sunday quoted an anonymous senior Obama administration official saying the memo was a “wake-up call” for a White House that has been slow to impose new sanctions on Iran after more than a year of attempted engagement.

Mr. Gates released a statement saying the anonymous official had mischaracterized his memo.

“The New York Times sources who revealed my January memo to the National Security Advisor mischaracterized its purpose and content,” Mr. Gates wrote. “With the Administration’s pivot to a pressure track on Iran earlier this year, the memo identified next steps in our defense planning process where further interagency discussion and policy decisions would be needed in the months and weeks ahead.

“The memo was not intended as a ‘wake up call’ or received as such by the President’s national security team,” he said.

The Obama administration has examined the prospect of imposing sanctions on Iran’s central bank in conjunction with European allies, a move that would make overseas financial transactions, at least with the West, nearly impossible.

Both the House and Senate have passed sanctions legislation targeting Iran’s import of gasoline and other elements of the Iranian economy.

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