Melbourne: US Defence Secretary Robert Gates says although military action against Iran remains an option, the threat of force is not the only way to stop Iran from building a nuclear bomb.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, visiting the US this week, is turning up pressure on the Obama administration to take a tougher line. If Israel concludes that Tehran is close to a bomb it could launch its own military strike against Iran`s nuclear facilities within months.
But Gates rejects the notion that Iran will only listen if it thinks it`s about to be attacked.
He says the latest international sanctions are hitting Iran harder than that country`s ruling regime had expected, and should be allowed more time. He spoke in Australia.