News / Middle East

    Panetta, Israeli Leaders Warn Iran

    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

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
        Next 
    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.
    Comments page of 2
        Next 

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora