WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Friday reiterated that the U.S. policy toward Iran's nuclear program is not about "containment," but about "prevention."
Panetta made the remarks after meeting with visiting Canadian counterpart Peter MacKay, during which the two discussed issues of mutual concern, including Afghanistan and the Middle East, with particular emphasis on Iran's suspected program to develop a nuclear weapon.
The U.S. defense chief stressed that the U.S. policy remains that Iran should not be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon, while urging Tehran to respond to the international sanctions aimed at dissuading it from acquiring a nuclear bomb.
Tehran insists that its nuclear program is solely for civilian purposes, while the U.S.-led West and Israel suspect that it is aimed at creating a nuclear weapon that could be used to eliminate Israel.
Though Israel has been pushing for the use of force to destroy and delay the Iranian nuclear program, U.S. President Barack Obama, with an eye on winning re-election, believes there is still time for diplomacy and the economic sanctions to work to deter Tehran from crossing the red line.
Speaking at the United Nations on Thursday, Netanyahu said that a firm ultimatum should be issued to Iran to stop it from getting a nuclear weapon before next spring or early summer.
MacKay said that there have been a number of red lines placed already, but "Iran has edged closer and stepped over those red lines on a number of occasions now, particularly when it comes to cooperation around the subject of inspections."
On Syria, Panetta said there were some indications that the Syrian military had moved some of its chemical weapons recently, but the main bases holding the stockpile remain secure.
Panetta also discussed with MacKay the cooperation on Afghanistan between the two countries, thanking Canada for its support by deploying 500 troops to train Afghan security forces.
MacKay said there have been progress made in transferring security responsibility to Afghan forces, which will allow Afghanistan "to spread that security and spread that hope."
WASHINGTON, Sept. 10 (Xinhua) -- The United States insisted on Monday that there is still "time and space" to end the standoff over Iran's nuclear program, in a subtle rebuttal of Israel's demand for a clear red line.
"We believe that there remains time and space for that effort to bear fruit, an effort that is focused on punitive sanctions to isolate and pressure Iran, and on diplomacy to bring about a change in behavior from Iran," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters at a regular news briefing. Full story
WASHINGTON, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- The Obama administration is taking a range of steps short of war to force Iran to take more seriously negotiations over its disputed nuclear program, in hopes of forestalling an Israeli attack, a U.S. newspaper reported Monday.
These steps include planned naval exercises and new anti- missile systems in the Persian Gulf, and a more forceful clamping down on Iranian oil revenue, the New York Times reported in a front-page story. Full story
WASHINGTON, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- The White House insisted on Thursday that there is still "time and space" to resolve Iran's controversial nuclear issue diplomatically, as a new report by the United Nations nuclear watchdog came out pointing to the Islamic republic's doubled ability to enrich uranium.
"The window of opportunity to resolve this diplomatically remains open, but it will not remain open indefinitely," White House spokesman Jay Carney said, in direct response to the report unveiled by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) earlier in the day alleging Iran has doubled the number of centrifuges to 2,140 to enrich uranium at its Fordo nuclear facility. Full story
WASHINGTON, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. Congress on Wednesday passed additional sanctions seeking to further stifle Iran's oil exports, just one day after President Barack Obama announced new measures to pressure the Islamic republic over its controversial nuclear program.
The House of Representatives voted 421-6 for the new penalties, while the Senate passed them unanimously later. The legislation will land on Obama's desk for his signature. Full story