Following meetings with top Israeli officials, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said the US would seek tough new sanctions against the Iranian government if it rejected the US offer for talks. Gates vowed that such measures would not be incremental.
Though Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak used the meeting as an opportunity to again hint at military action against Iran, Gates said, however, that he “had every sense that the Israeli government is prepared to let our strategy play out.”
Gates’ comments appeared to be more intended to placate Israeli impatience over the Obama Administration’s attempts at diplomacy with Iran, though he did warn that the offer for talks was not “open-ended.” Last week Israel condemned comments by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, saying they suggested the US was resigned to Iran having nuclear weapons.
Despite US and Israeli officials’ persistant threats over Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program, Yukiya Amano, the new head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, says there is no evidence the nation is even working on such weapons.