Panetta: Military Option For Iran ‘Not Being Weighed’

Various diplomatic developments are signaling that war is unlikely

by John Glaser, May 19, 2012

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 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.

The Obama administration has been in close contact with the world powers taking part in the meeting in Baghdad between the P5+1 and Iran. Those talks will take place in the coming days and an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program and the West’s approach to the issue is expected to be unveiled soon after.

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