US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has called on the international community to support sanctions against Iran to prevent the Islamic Republic from developing its peaceful nuclear program.
"My view is that right now the most important thing is to keep the international community unified in keeping that pressure on to try to convince Iran that they shouldn't develop a nuclear weapon..." Panetta said on Friday.
Addressing American airmen at US Ramstein Air Base in Germany, Panetta added that in case Iran does not abandon its nuclear activities, the US is "prepared to respond if we have to.”
He described sanctions as "very tough" political and economic measures, adding "We've got to continue that kind of pressure.”
The threats by US defense secretary come as Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said on Friday that Iran will continue on the path of progress despite the Western pressures.
Referring to US threats that it will use all options against Iran over its nuclear program, the Leader said that such threats indicate US failure to adopt a logical stance towards Iran.
The advancement of the Islamic Revolution has never stopped as we have been on the right track, the Leader added.
The US, Israel, and their Western allies accuse Iran of pursuing a military nuclear program and have used this allegation as a pretext to convince the United Nations Security Council to impose four rounds of sanctions on Iran.
Tehran, however, refutes such allegations as “baseless” and maintains that as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency it has every right to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.