April 19, 2010
A secret memo by US Defense Secretary Robert Gates urges Washington to consider the use of military force against Iran if diplomacy fails to scrap the country’s nuclear program.
In what seems to be a new twist in US efforts to tackle Iran’s enrichment activities, The New York Times reveals that a three-page memorandum, which has been circulating in Washington since January, has advocated military action against Tehran.
The classified memorandum, according to unnamed government officials quoted by the Times, warns that Washington lacks an effective policy in dealing with Iran’s nuclear program and should therefore come up with new options.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
One senior official has said that the memo accuses Iran of weapons development and lays out a set of military alternatives to counter Iran’s progress in nuclear science and technology.
Some US officials, however, have played down the significance of the report, saying that the Obama administration has always “anticipated the full range of contingencies” against Iran.
“It is absolutely false that any memo touched off a reassessment of our options,” AP quoted National Security Council spokesman Benjamin Rhodes as saying.
“This administration has been planning for all contingencies regarding Iran for many months,” he added.
The memo has surfaced at a time when Washington is trying to garner support for a new set of sanctions on Iran over its refusal to give up uranium enrichment.
For years, Washington has accused Iran of having plans to build a secret nuclear weapons program “in the near future.”
Iran has rejected the accusations, saying that its nuclear program is intended for energy production, not weapons development.