Jerusalem: Talking tough against Iran, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta on Wednesday threatened to implement "other options", hinting at a possible American military strike, to foil Tehran`s nuclear programme.
Panetta, who is visiting Israel, made the remarks at the site of the Iron Dome anti-missile defence system in Ashkelon.
"If they continue and if they proceed with a nuclear weapon. We have other options, and we are prepared to implement them", he said.
"Iran must either negotiate acceptable limits on its nuclear programme or face the possibility of US military action to stop it from getting the bomb," Panetta was quoted by Ha`aretz online as saying.
He stressed that the US has been "taking steps to continue to apply more pressure on Iran," mentioning Obama`s announcement of new sanctions against Tehran today.
Earlier, Israel`s Defence Minister Ehud Barak, standing beside Panetta, following their meeting that said he sees an "extremely low" probability that sanctions will ever compel Iran to give up its nuclear activities.
"Diplomacy takes time but at the same time the Iranians continue to enrich uranium," Barak said adding, "We have everything to lose while time passes allowing diplomacy to work".
The US Defence Secretary acknowledged Israel`s right to defend itself, re-iterating his country`s commitment to the security of the Jewish state.
"The US respects Israel`s sovereignty and independence and their efforts to decide what`s in their best interest in the region," he said.
Speaking before their meeting, Panetta said, "Our countries have a strong bond, not only of friendship but of security.
"We will do everything we can to defend both of our countries," he added.