Jerusalem/Melbourne: Israel has told US to keep a military strike option open to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, a suggestion rejected by Washington.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the suggestion reportedly to the US Vice President Joe Biden during talks in New Orleans yesterday.
"Tehran would be determined to produce nuclear weapons unless it thinks a military strike is a real option." Israeli media reported Netanyahu as having told Biden quoting high officials.
But, Tel Aviv call for a "credible military threat" was rejected by the US Defence Secretary Robert Gates who said that international sanctions were hurting Tehran severely than Iran anticipated.
Gates, who is in Australia for a military dialogue with country`s leaders, said although military action against Iran remained an option the threat of force was not the only
way to stop Iran from building a nuclear bomb.
"We know they (Israel) are concerned about the impact
of sanctions. But these are biting more deeply than they anticipated and we are working hard at this," the US Defence Secretary told reporters.
Gates was reacting to media reports from Jerusalem
which quoted Israeli Prime Minister as saying that a credible
threat of military action is the only way to ensure that Iran
will rethink its nuclear programme,
Haaretz Daily reported that according to Israeli
estimates, the only time Iran had paused its nuclear programme
was in 2003, when Tehran believed that a military strike was
US media reports said Obama administration while not
ruling out a military option, has so far stressed sanctions
and diplomacy as its preferred course in dealing with Iran.