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Obama challenger Romney says 'prepare for war' against Iran
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Nov 10, 2011

Accusing President Barack Obama of naivete on Iran, Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney promised Thursday that if elected president he would "prepare for war" with the Islamic republic.

In a commentary published in the Wall Street Journal, Romney said he would back up US diplomacy "with a very real and very credible military option," deploying carrier battle groups to the Gulf and boosting military aid to Israel.

"These actions will send an unequivocal signal to Iran that the United States, acting in concert with allies, will never permit Iran to obtain nuclear weapons," he wrote.

Romney, a frontrunner in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, keyed his column to a International Atomic Energy Agency report this week citing "credible evidence" that Iran had worked on a nuclear explosive device.

Iran denies it is developing nuclear weapons and insists its nuclear program is for generating electricity, but the report has prompted calls in the West for tougher UN sanctions and demands by Israel for world to act to prevent Tehran for getting nuclear weapons.

Romney said the United States "needs a very different policy."

"'Si vis pacem, para bellum.' That is a Latin phrase, but the ayatollahs will have no trouble understanding its meaning from a Romney administration: If you want peace, prepare for war," he said.

He stopped short of advocating military action against Iran, but attacked the Obama administration's diplomatic and sanctions-oriented approach to Tehran's nuclear program as "a case study in botched diplomacy."

"Whether this approach was rooted in naivete or in realistic expectations, can be debated. I believe it was the former," Romney wrote.

He criticized the administration for failing to get Moscow's support for tougher action against Tehran as the price for a "reset" in US-Russian relations, and Obama's refusal to meddle during Iran's Green Revolution of 2009.

"A proper American policy might or might not have altered the outcome; we will never know," he wrote. "But thanks to this shameful abdication of moral authority, any hope of toppling a vicious regime was lost, perhaps for generations."

With the US military tied down in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Obama administration has played down a US military option against Iran, opting instead for diplomacy and sanctions.

Robert Gates, Obama's Republican defense secretary until earlier this year, warned repeatedly against the use of military force, arguing it would only drive the Iranian program deeper underground.

"The reality is there is no military option that does anything more than buy time," Gates told CNN in 2009.

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Strike on Iran could have 'serious impact' on region: US
Washington (AFP) Nov 10, 2011 - US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Thursday warned of the risks from any military strike on Iran, saying it could have a "serious impact" on the region without halting Tehran's nuclear program.

"You've got to be careful of unintended consequences here. And those consequences could involve not only not really deterring Iran from what they want to do, but more importantly it could have a serious impact on the region and it could have a serious impact on US forces in the region," Panetta told a news conference.

The Pentagon chief said he agreed with the view of his predecessor, former defense secretary Robert Gates, that bombing Iran would only delay its nuclear project by about three years.

Panetta said the United States was focused on diplomacy and was holding talks with allies to impose "additional sanctions" on Iran over its nuclear work.

His comments coincided with rising tensions with Iran after a UN report cited proof that Tehran's atomic program was being used to develop nuclear warheads.

Israel has signalled it may stage air strikes against Iran's nuclear sites while Tehran on Thursday threatened to hit back against any attack or even the threat of military action.

Panetta said striking Iran was "a last resort."


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Russia rejects Iran sanctions despite UN findings
Moscow (AFP) Nov 9, 2011
Russia on Wednesday ruled out backing new sanctions against Iran and held urgent consultations with its ally after the publication of the most damning report to date from the UN nuclear watchdog. Moscow's attempt to relieve its trade partner's diplomatic isolation came a day after the IAEA agency went ahead with the publication of an unprecedented report on Iran that both China and Russia re ... read more

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