Gates, EU Leaders Urge Action Against Iran
Written by Warren Mass
Friday, 11 December 2009 13:36
Speaking to U.S. troops at Forward Operating Base Warrior, near Kirkuk, northern Iraq, on December 11, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates predicted that the international community will impose stronger economic sanctions on Iran unless its leaders change their policy and live up to agreements related to their nuclear program.

Gates spoke with several hundred U.S. troops during a 45-minute town hall-style meeting on the base. When he was asked whether there is any plan for military action against Iran, he replied that he never takes any option off the table, but that such a move would only delay Iran's nuclear weapons development by a few years. He said the international community is instead mores likely to increase sanctions.

"I think that you're going to see some significant additional sanctions imposed by the international community, assuming that the Iranians don't change course and agree to do the things they signed up to do at the beginning of October," said Gates, noting that Iran's defiance has convinced nations involved in the issue, including Russia and China, that stronger action is warranted.

"At the end of the day, the way to avoid a nuclear-armed Iran is to put together a package of incentives and disincentives that persuade the Iranian government that they would actually be less secure with nuclear weapons than if they had them," he added.

The New York Times reported that under a deadline imposed by President Obama, Iran has until the end of 2009 to demonstrate that it is prepared to limit its nuclear ambitions. The report noted that Gates’ comments were “the first from a senior member of the Obama administration to say that tougher sanctions were now likely.