Gates: Military force is not the only way to deter Iran
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Monday that American diplomatic and economic efforts to halt Iran's nuclear program need more time, rebuffing Israel's call for military force.
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"Not to just neutralize their nuclear program, but to sink their navy, destroy their air force and deliver a decisive blow to the Revolutionary Guard, in other words neuter that regime," Graham said.
But Biden said in a speech to Jewish leaders that the sanctions against Iran had already dissuaded some foreign investors from working with Iran, according to Ynet News, an online outlet affiliated with the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot.
Independent experts have also said that sanctions are working. Nader Hashemi, an Iran expert at the University of Denver, told NPR recently, "The sanctions that have been placed on Iran, which are the most comprehensive sanctions ever, are starting to bite and starting to deeply affect the functioning of the economy and the life of the average citizen."
Meanwhile, Iran said Sunday it had agreed to another round of talks in its nuclear program in Turkey, to include representatives from the five permanent United Nations Security Council members and Germany, Xinhua reported. But the meeting's time and agenda have not yet been decided, the agency said.
In October last year, Iranian leaders rejected a negotiated plan for it to export its uranium for processing abroad. In June, the UN imposed a fourth round of sanctions on Iran, a move followed by even stronger unilateral measures by the US, the European Union, Norway, Canada, Australia, Japan, and South Korea. The sanctions are aimed at Iran's banking, insurance, and oil and gas sectors, with harsh penalties for firms in those sectors who do business with Tehran.
However, the US has charged that Chinese firms are bypassing the sanctions and aiding Iran's missile and nuclear efforts. Washington has called on Beijing to halt such activity.
Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful, civilian purposes and falls within its rights as a sovereign nation. (See a map of its major nuclear facilities from Der Spiegel.) But Washington and Tel Aviv believe Iran actually wants to build a bomb. For Israel, an Iranian nuclear capability would represent an existential threat.
In a 2006 statement, Iran accused the United Nations of having a "double standard" on Iran and Israel's nuclear programs, and called Israel's own undeclared nuclear weapons program "a uniquely grave threat to regional and international peace and security."