Sunday May 20, 201203:56 PM GMT
Panetta: military option for Iran ‘not being weighed’
Sun May 20, 2012 3:47PM
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Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta

Just days ahead of the talks between the six world powers and Iran over the latter’s nuclear program, reports say Washington is “radiating optimism” with expectations of a peaceful nuclear deal and a “warming of relations” with Tehran.


One of the developments making a U.S. or Israeli attack less likely and a peaceful deal more likely was the announcement of a surprise visit this week to Tehran by the IAEA chief Yukiya Amano. This was perceived as a sign that Iran was beginning to acquiesce in the IAEA demands to inspect the Parchin military site, despite there being no enrichment at the facility.


Parchin received a considerable amount of attention and war propaganda, but it seemed to be the West’s and the IAEA’s final area of concern regarding the nature of Iran’s nuclear program, which Iranians insist is peaceful in nature and which the U.S. intelligence community has agreed involves no weaponization.


Another indication that war will be avoided was the statement by a spokesman for Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta that “a military option is not being weighed at this point.”


The comment was made in response to a recent claim by the U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro that the military option is “not just available, but it’s ready.”


Pentagon spokesperson George Little explained that the Pentagon is by nature “a planning organization,” and the planning of such contingencies is not a sign of impending war. Antiwar




President Obama on Saturday declared Iran’s nuclear program a “grave concern” for world leaders, but he said that the United States and its allies are hopeful ahead of negotiations next week.


Iran's top negotiator Saeed Jalili has said that Tehran's move on the path of progress is unstoppable. Dismissing some recent comments by Western countries that time is running out for dialogue with Tehran, he said "time is running out not for Iran, but for the western powers' increasing pressure against the Iranian nation." RTTNews


The U.S., Israel and their allies accuse Iran of pursuing a military nuclear program and have used this allegation as a pretext to convince the UN Security Council to impose four rounds of sanctions on Iran.


Tehran has categorically refuted Western allegations, saying that as a signatory to the NPT, it has the right to acquire and develop atomic technology for peaceful purposes.


The latest round of talks between Iran and the five members of the P5+1 group was held in the Turkish city of Istanbul on April 14. Both sides hailed the discussions as constructive.


Tehran and the P5+1 had previously held two rounds of talks, one in Geneva, Switzerland in December 2010, and another in Istanbul in January 2011.




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