Panetta vows military action against IranMarch 7th, 2012 - 1:03 am ICT by IANS
Washington, March 6 (IANS) US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said Tuesday that Washington will act militarily against Iran if it fails to stop Tehran from obtaining nuclear weapons by other means.
“Military action is the last alternative when all else fails,” the Pentagon chief told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a powerful pro-Israel lobbying group in Washington, Xinhua reported.
“But make no mistake, we will act if we have to,” he said, echoing what President Barack Obama said Sunday at the same forum and in his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House Monday.
“Let me be clear: We do not have a policy of containment, we have a policy of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons,” he said.
Panetta also pledged to “provide whatever support is necessary for Israel to maintain military superiority over any state or coalition of states, as well as non-state actors”, calling the pledge “ironclad”.
Citing Israel’s advanced missile and rocket defences and a planned US delivery of the new F-35 fighter jet, he said they will provide Israel with “unquestioned” air superiority.
Obama failed to persuade Netanyahu to hold off a unilateral military action against Iran’s nuclear sites in the coming months in their high-profile meeting Monday.
He had urged the prime minister to allow for more time for diplomacy and sanctions to work.
“None of us can afford to wait much longer,” Netanyahu told the AIPAC Monday night.
“As prime minister of Israel, I will never allow my people to live in the shadow of annihilation,” he declared.
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