Iran Nuclear NewsIran remains potential threat, Gates warns

Iran remains potential threat, Gates warns

-

The Guardian: Claiming Iran may secretly have resumed efforts to build a nuclear weapon, the US defence secretary, Robert Gates, called for intensified international pressure on Tehran and urged Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to develop a joint air and missile shield to ward off future threats. The Guardian

· US defence secretary says Tehran is bent on chaos
· Nuclear programme may have restarted, he believes

Simon Tisdall in Manama, Bahrain

Claiming Iran may secretly have resumed efforts to build a nuclear weapon, the US defence secretary, Robert Gates, called for intensified international pressure on Tehran and urged Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to develop a joint air and missile shield to ward off future threats.

Speaking at a weekend security conference in Bahrain, Gates insisted multilateral defence cooperation was an “absolute necessity”. The region faced a “truculent” leadership in Tehran that was “bent on confrontation with its neighbours and deeply engaged in subverting stability in Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said.

“Everywhere you turn, it is the policy of Iran to foment instability and chaos, no matter the strategic value or the cost in the blood of innocents – Christians, Jews and Muslims alike,” he said.

Gates said Tehran, as well as backing Hizbullah and Hamas, was developing medium-range ballistic missiles that are “not particularly cost-effective unless equipped with warheads carrying weapons of mass destruction”.

Erecting a joint “protective defensive missile umbrella” would enable the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates – to reduce the chances of a successful attack, he added.

Gates’s hardline statements followed last week’s publication of the CIA’s National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran. The report’s key conclusion that Tehran had suspended a nuclear weapons programme in 2003 embarrassed President George Bush and led some regional allies to suspect the White House was preparing to take a softer line. Gates dispelled that notion. “The NIE reports that they [Iran”> do continue their nuclear enrichment programme … It states they do have the mechanisms still in place to restart their programme. And the estimate is explicit that Iran is keeping its options open and could restart its nuclear weapons programme at any time – if it has not done so already.”

Addressing the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ annual security summit, Gates called for intensified economic, financial and diplomatic pressure on Iran. He added that there were many “opportunities” for the US and like-minded countries to maintain the pressure even if Russia and China blocked a third UN sanctions resolution. While all options, including military action, remained on the table, the US was “100% focused on diplomatic and economic measures”.

Regional governments, friendly or otherwise, should not underestimate US resolve, he warned. “Imperial Germany, imperial Japan, Nazi Germany, fascist Italy, the Soviet Union – all made this fatal miscalculation. All paid the price. All are on the ash heap of history.”

Regional experts say Gulf leaders share US concerns about Iran’s political and nuclear ambitions and speak forcefully about them in private. But Gates’s reassertion of Washington’s tough stance, coupled with an ongoing refusal to pursue unconditional talks with Tehran, drew sharp public criticism at the weekend.

Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al Thani, Qatar’s prime minister, said: “We can’t solve our problems by trying to seal Iran off from the region … The US should hold direct talks.”

Abdul-Rahman Al-Attiyah, the GCC’s secretary general, said: “We believe in dialogue to solve the crisis.”

Gary Samore, of the US Council on Foreign Relations, said the criticisms reflected worries about US intentions. “The Gulf states are insecure and resentful but they are in a very weak position. Gates had to reassure them that the US was not giving up on Iran after the NIE.” Iran was invited to the conference but pulled out.

Latest news

Khamenei’s Disgraceful Campaign Against Piranshahr and Javanrud, Who Will Be the Loser?

On the 67th day of Iran’s revolution, the Iranian regime attempted to put a halt to the protests in...

Iran: Expensive Medicine, Cheap Human Life

A look at the equipment and weapons that the Iranian regime has been using against its people to suppress...

Who Is Abolqasem Salavati Iran Regime’s Killer Judge?

Last week, it was announced that the case of several people who were arrested during the Iranian People's uprising...

Iran Revolution Characteristics

More than two months have passed since the start of the latest round of protests in Iran against the...

Iran’s Regime Is Unable To Eradicate Protests

Totalitarian governments, whether be it a monarchy or a clerical regime, and their international supporters are pursuing the same...

Ten Percent of Iran’s Nation Is Ready To Sacrifice Itself for Freedom

According to estimates by the Iranian regime’s main opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), more than...

Must read

Hague slams Iran ahead of US trip

AFP: Newly appointed Foreign Secretary William Hague has criticised...

Iran steps up gas field pressure on foreign firms

Reuters: Iran plans to replace foreign companies which have...

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you