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: Captain America from: USA
August 01, 2012 11:53 AM
Ah, the ages old "time is running out for Iran" bit.


by: Steve from: Texas
August 01, 2012 11:45 AM
A news hour summary of this diatribe would go something like this:

"Now listen to us Iran.........we really, really, really, mean it this time. You better stop what you’re doing or we might really get mad at you." What a joke!!

Politicians are politicians………what we need now is a leader who can make tough choices and gain respect from the general population and other countries. The U.S. has threatened so many times and not meant it that our enemies take the U.S. leadership very lightly. Where is Reagan when we really need him?

In Response

by: MB from: USA
August 01, 2012 4:21 PM
Steve I agree with most of what you say, but Reagan SOLD weapons TO Iran.


by: BobinMiami from: Miami
August 01, 2012 11:36 AM
You comments and hate for any country, in this case Israel, nearly invalidates your perspective as rational and sound. Its well known Iranian people are fond of democracy and western values. Unfortunately their leadership which controls the country's purse, ruling politics, and military does not share nor care for their people's perspective. They have shown themselves to be warring, hate-mongering, and eager to act against any society that does not share their extreme point of view, namely the US and its ally, Israel. To sit idly by and watch a self-declared adversary develop an extremely powerful weapon completely irreverent of the world society's concern for the planet's safety is not a smart position for any country with the ability to intervene.

In Response

by: Jason Wreight from: Melbourne, Australia
August 01, 2012 5:11 PM
What utter garbage! The hate-mongering people-butchering regime is the illegitimate, ethnic-cleansing, genocidal nazi occupation-force in Palestine, as the record clearly shows. (In pictures, yet!)

Unlike the jews the Iranians have NOT attacked their nieghbours in several thousand years, nor murdered people all over the world (including during piracy on the high seas), and the only problems they've had in recent times have been engineered by that other jewish state the USofA.

The sooner both the US and The Jewish Occupation Force in Palestine disappear from the face of the earth the better off everybody else will be.

Go to your god. Please!


by: Michael from: Adamian
August 01, 2012 11:30 AM
Why do all of our leaders have to pay homage to Israel? Go to war for Israel? Get Israeli approval to run for office, be President?
Why are they afraid to say a critical word about Israeli apartheid, illegal occupation, fascist settlers, horrendous human rights record, their murder of an American teenage citizen in cold blood. Their war crimes in the west bank and Gaza. Their relentless sabre rattling against Iran that threatens to plunge us into a middle east war again. Their usurpation of E Jerusalem, they're forced relocation of the Negev bedouins. Which one of us is the client nation? Why do the American people have to do everything that Israel wants? Our leaders sycophancy towards Israel makes me angry.

In Response

by: Mark from: Pasadena
August 01, 2012 6:43 PM
Michael, why do you and all of the other anti-Israel-read anti-Semitic-vermin write the same phrases, verbatim, i.e. go to war for Israel? The U.S went to war and died in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Bosnia, while Israel has fought all of the wars started by your Arab sycophants on its own. It's Iran rattling their sabers against, Israel and the U.S. that has me concerned. Israel is not threatening to annihilate any other country, just defend themselves against the mad mullahs.

In Response

by: Jill from: Arizona
August 01, 2012 3:04 PM
Your naive Israel hatred blinds you to the truth of why America is REALLY going to war and the answer is Saudi Arabia and oil. Saudis suppress their Shia population and Iran's goal is to topple the Saudi monarchy and have control of the oil... look at Iran's interference in Yemen, directly south of Saudi Arabia-- Israel is an excuse because the USA will be fighting for its own interests, to keep WMD away from terrorists and to prevent Iran from controlling all of the oil- btw, Israeli Arabs have more freedom in Israel than any muslim country... have you noticed slavery, oppression, stoning, dictatorship, censorship in these countries, because I don't see you complaining...human rights record, lol!


by: Commentator from: US
August 01, 2012 11:20 AM
When US officials have to go on record, testifying before Congress, or issuing official intelligence assessments, they say Iran has no nuclear weapons program. Then they go out and run their mouths in the press as though it does. They never try to refute irresponsible statements in the press that Iran is close to developing a nuclear weapon or that it is said to attack Israel, which is easy to do. The US has no credibility when it engages in such transparent maneuvers.


by: ca from: texas
August 01, 2012 11:10 AM
You mark my words, the October surprise this year is going to be a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. Obama has nothing left in his bag of tricks. When Demorcratic presidential candidates want to look strong in an election year they bomb a country. Remember Clinton and Sudan.


by: Michael from: USA
August 01, 2012 9:06 AM
The meeting between the United States and Israel speaks to the world that there exists a quadrangular communion, a religion with one of four unified faces, that sets itself against the other three-fourths of the world which serves only to increase religious tension. This makes Israel no safer than before the meeting

In Response

by: K. Truant from: Edmonton
August 01, 2012 12:18 PM
Since when has Israel ever been safe from attacks? You believe doing nothing makes the world safer? Your religious analogy shows your absolute denial of history and world facts as well. Israel has been militarily attacked 3 times since its inception and attacked non-stop by government backed civilians. Because Israel is the Bastard Child of the US and wouldn't even exist without them, the US has a moral obligation to protect this tiny nation. Religion is the cause in the tensions, but its not a result of any peace loving religion, its stems from fanatasizm born from the enemies of Christianity and Jews. Regardless what the US & Israel does this fanatasizm will continue to bring war.

In Response

by: will from: dallas
August 01, 2012 11:56 AM
Thanks Michael. religion is a pretext for a lot of problems worldwide.
The Iranians can't have a nuke weapon , they've indicated they will
destroy Israel. Whetehr that was rhetorhic or not is immaterial. They said it, which means they feel comfortable saying that.
The world is safer without saddam Hussein. It will be not as safe with Iranian nukes. Its their choice. :)


by: AM
August 01, 2012 8:26 AM
Traitors to the American people. All of them.


by: Pierre Anonymot from: CT
August 01, 2012 7:56 AM
Poor old Mr. Panetta. Coupled with Hillary, no one listens to him, eitherexcept U.S. media and Obama. Our foreign attitude (it can't be called a policy) becomes increasingly a mouthpirece for Idraeli extremists every day.4 years on they still have no grasp of what is going on in the world. Their incompetence may be unique in world history.

So what's the alternative? Is there nothing left of America? Isfascist democracy a new form of government? Is Israel the first example with America the next? Can no one see beyound the Moneygate?

Poor old Panetta, Leader of the American War Machine!

In Response

by: www.LEVASHOV.info
August 01, 2012 12:44 PM
Read Jewish Torah please : and Jews will be like Kings, when all other nations will serve them... Israel has nuclear power.. Israel controls Unites States... Judaism gave birth to Christianity and then to Islam.... so look where it all is pointing to!

In Response

by: AE from: Texas
August 01, 2012 12:21 PM
Poor old Tony, living in a dungeon in NYC waiting for the infidels to take over his Jewish heritage!

In Response

by: tony from: nyc
August 01, 2012 11:37 AM
Pierre, shut the f%$k up. Your a mindless idiot with nothing to contribute. Iran needs to be stopped, for once they gain nuclear bombs they will surely be used against America and Israel. Any muslim nation for that matter. Read the koran. Any country that has mulsim as predominance population has turned to archaic sharia law. Its in their ideology. they must take over and convert or kill all infidels. America and Israel are your only choice for any semblance of freedom you nitwit.

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