Defense Secretary Leon Panetta
“The fundamental premise is that neither the United States or [sic] the international community is going to allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. We will do everything we can to prevent them from developing a weapon.” US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta
US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says the Pentagon has readied plans to carry out a military strike on Iran if diplomacy fails in the dispute over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.
“The fundamental premise is that neither the United States or the international community is going to allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. We will do everything we can to prevent them from developing a weapon,” Panetta said in an interview with ABC’s This Week on Sunday.
Iran says that according to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), all signatories have the right to use nuclear energy for peaceful applications and no country should have the right to possess nuclear weapons.
The NPT also allows Iran and other member states to enrich uranium to produce fuel.
“One of the things that we do at the Defense Department is plan. And we have – we have plans to be able to implement any contingency we have to in order to defend ourselves,” Panetta stated.
He asserted that the international community is united on the issue but expressed hope the dispute could be resolved “diplomatically.”
Panetta’s remarks came one day after Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Director Fereydoun Abbasi rejected the West’s call for Iran to halt its uranium enrichment activities, saying, “We do not ask for permission from anyone to meet our country’s needs.”
“It would be better for them to negotiate with our country with regard to obtaining fuel and to not ask us to stop producing fuel,” he added.
On Friday, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano issued a new report reaffirming that there has been no diversion in Iran’s nuclear energy program.
The agency confirms the absence of any diversion in Iran’s nuclear activities, which are being monitored, the report read.