News / Middle East

Panetta, Israeli Leaders Warn Iran

Panetta Wraps Up Middle East Tripi
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Luis Ramirez
August 02, 2012 1:02 AM
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is wrapping up a trip to the Middle East, gauging what kind of military relationship the United States will have with governments of the emerging democracies of Egypt and Tunisia, and making an effort to cement relationships with traditional allies. In Israel, there was discussion of the violence in Syria, but the possibility of an Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear sites dominated the agenda. VOA Pentagon correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Jerusalem.
Panetta Wraps Up Middle East Trip
VOA NewsLuis Ramirez
JERUSALEM — U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Israeli leaders on Wednesday warned Iran that time is running out to resolve disputes over its controversial nuclear program.
 
Speaking at a press conference in Jerusalem with the visiting Pentagon chief, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said international sanctions aren't changing Iran's path toward development of nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear aims are peaceful.
 
"You recently said that sanctions on Iran are having a big impact on the Iranian economy, and that is correct," Netanyahu told Panetta. "But unfortunately it is also true that neither sanctions nor diplomacy have yet had any impact on Iran's nuclear weapons program.
 
"You yourself said a few months ago that when all else fails, America will act," Netanyahu added. "But these declarations have also not yet convinced the Iranians to stop their program. However forceful our statements, they have not convinced Iran that we are serious about stopping them."
 
Panetta's Warning
 
Earlier, Panetta said U.S. patience with Iran is running thin.
 
"They have a choice to make," he said during a visit to a missile defense battery in the southern port town of Ashkelon with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
 
"They can either negotiate in a way that tries to resolve these issues and has them abiding by international rules and requirements and giving up their effort to develop their nuclear capability," Panetta said. "But if they don't, and if they continue to make the decision to proceed with a nuclear weapon ... we have options that we are prepared to implement to ensure that does not happen."
 
Before landing in Israel late Tuesday, Panetta denied reports that meetings with Israeli leaders would cover potential plans for a preemptive attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.
 
“I think it's the wrong characterization to say that we're going to be discussing potential attack plans," he said. "What we are discussing is various contingencies of how we respond.”
 
Panetta said the United States and Israel are doing everything they can to have the "strongest defense" and protect both countries, adding the two countries have a "very close friendship."
 
Barak said the Israel-U.S. relationship is solid.
 
"The defense ties between Israel and the United States are stronger and tighter than they have ever been, and the credit now has to go, most of it, to you, Leon," Barak said as he greeted Panetta at the Israeli defense headquarters.
 
Panetta's visit also includes talks with Israeli President Shimon Peres.
 
Panetta arrived in Israel from Egypt, where he met with newly elected President Mohamed Morsi.
 
Before stopping in Cairo, the U.S. defense secretary visited Tunisia - the site of the first Arab Spring popular uprisings last year, and praised what he said was the country's peaceful transition to democracy.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters

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by: Stewart McLeagh from: UK
August 02, 2012 4:34 PM
we all know where Islam leads... it is going to be a war, whether we like it or not... I have been staunched anti war ever since i can remember (I am 64) but the more I read the more I see what is going on in my own country, the more i realize the necessity of defeating this Islamic cancer that was allowed to infect Europe... its ironic, but our freedom and security is at the hands of tiny Israel; I wish her well and Godspeed - truly incredible people


by: Daniel Mariscal from: Gualala, California, USA
August 02, 2012 4:02 PM
instead of imposing arbitrary timelines, Israel should say, "Hey Iran, let's discard old arguments and work out something that will benefit future Generations of our people. Future generations of the World's people."


by: Godwin from: Nigeria
August 02, 2012 10:35 AM
Very interesting here is the way Barak hit the nail on the head: "The defense ties between Israel and the United States..., and the credit now has to go... to you, Leon." This is a better address than 'we can't say what we mean or want to say 'because we're in election year''. USA knows its friends, immigrants - legal or otherwise - who find themselves in position of authority do not, or may even work against it, because they have come from enemy territories. USA needs to be reclaimed from such hateful people, otherwise wrong policies will continue to evolve from them, and before you know it, US loses vital friendships. But the most important reclamation of America for Americans is to return her to God to fulfill the dreams of the founding fathers of a once known GOD'S OWN COUNTRY.


by: Anonymous
August 02, 2012 1:06 AM
Assad will lose and so will Iran. Once the dust is settled people in both countries will live in harmony and peace.


by: Human Right from: Boulder, Mt
August 02, 2012 12:18 AM
As noted many, many times by the CIA and other agencies, Iran has no nukes nor does it want any. Israel has nuclear weapons and Israel attacks other countries on a continuum; it is a war machine bent on taking over the world. So why aren't we placing sanctions upon Israel and forcing them to abide by international law>

In Response

by: mk2197 from: Montana
August 02, 2012 1:54 PM
Did you seriously type Iran doesn't want a nuclear weapon? They've said over and over the developement is for "peaceful reasons" while their mini dictator threatens to "wipe Israel off the map" Even the US acknowledges Israel has right to defend itself.

In Response

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
August 02, 2012 11:00 AM
Israel may have nuke, but she has not been a threat to anyone, not even Iran which makes all effort to destroy her. Israel has never said that any country has no right to exist; Israel has never threatened to wipe any country or people(s) out of the map. Israel is a deeply religious state, yet has not forced anyone to adopt its religion or deny them rights because they live their lives their own way. Comparing Israel and Iran is like comparing light and darkness. Saying Israel attacks... continuum is a mere boast of dictum and you know it's outright lie. If your allegation that Israel is war machine bent on taking over the world was true, imagine what it would take her to wipe out all Palestinians and even all of Arab countries whom it took only six days to defeat not too long ago. Israel has no such expansionist agenda but only desires to be left alone in the land God gave to them since Abraham. Give Israel back its and see if Israel is not the most amiable people in the world. But the trouble out there has denied genuine pilgrimages and worship in the Holy Land. God bless Jerusalem, the City of David.


by: LEROY PADMORE from: JERSEY CITY,NJ
August 02, 2012 12:13 AM
America have made her position clear to the Iranian,we stand with Israel our allied and friend.we will not allow Iran to have nuclear weapon.it is unacceptable and detrimental to Israeli people and also to the united states.all other option has failed,it is time for the united states and Israel to take military action.we are running out of time with Iran madness,and we need to act quick.Iran knows there is no way that she can defeat Israel,Israel is powerful then Iran.As for the united states,the eagle will always fly high.we are superior .God Bless America,Shalom to Israel

In Response

by: human from: new york
August 02, 2012 9:52 AM
and after this thoroughly patriotic rant with little thought outside of, "whatever the u.s. decides must be the correct route of action;" i hope you are the first and only soldier to fight in this potential war. take your god and dreams of military action and shove them up your soaring eagles ass.


by: John
August 01, 2012 4:13 PM
its beginning to sound like
its ok to kill someone "in case" they do it to you first
its ok to give life sentence or capital punishment to someone "in case" before they do something bad.
create fear in people's mind and then go for it! sounds like what Hitler did


by: Klaus Mager from: Palm Desert, CA
August 01, 2012 1:57 PM
so what would we do? Military intervention would create unpredictable consequences. Shoot down one oil tanker and the Strait of Hormuz is down, so would be our economy. We are in no position to discuss war. What we should discuss is our deficit, how to get our house in order


by: YaValioCacaWates from: USA
August 01, 2012 12:12 PM
I'm almost certain that Iran is shaking in their boots with fear this time. Have been warned for many years, yep, this will do it.


by: The Jew World Order
August 01, 2012 11:55 AM
When are we going to address ISRAEL's nuclear weapons stockpile and lack of being a signatory to the UN's treaty [Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons].

Who are the major Non-parities to the treaty? India, Israel, North Korea and Pakistan.

If the U.S. goes to war on Iran, Israel will be the only country that will be decimated.

In Response

by: Anonymous
August 02, 2012 1:11 AM
Why address Israels Nuclear Weapons? They aren't threatening to take out a complete country with nuclear weapons. Iran is threatening to wipe Israel off the map with nukes and yet they don't even have them yet. Of course Iran should not have any nuclear capabilities after what their leaders say. It is too bad that both Iran and Syria have tyrants running their countries. Every Iranian I know hates their leaders and are disgusted by their governments way of thinking. The Iranian people are good, their leaders are not, and Iranians have no choice. I've been told by Iranians that the ways of thinking of the Iranian government is not the way the Iranian people feel.

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