Panetta Pushes For Additional Sanctions on Iran

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has requested tougher economic and diplomatic sanctions on Iran following the news last week on the International Atomic Energy Agency’s report on the country’s continued nuclear activities. However, he cautioned that military action should only be considered as a last resort. Panetta’s comments during a Pentagon briefing last week came amidst speculation that the US or Israel may be considering bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities. “You’ve got to be careful of unintended consequences here. And those consequences could involve not only not really deterring Iran from what they want to do, but more importantly, it could have a serious impact in the region and it could have a serious impact on US forces in the region,” said Panetta. Still, he said the US and Israel share some common concerns, which the IAEA report highlighted. “And, for that reason, it is important for us to make sure we apply the toughest sanctions, economic, diplomatic pressures on Iran to change their behavior.” The US continues to discuss with its allies possible sanctions on Iran, he added. (Panetta transcript)(AFPS report by Donna Miles)