Iran's Nuclear Program Could Be Restarted, U.S. Defense Chief Warns

[Washington Post] Ann Scott Tyson - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates argued forcefully at a Persian Gulf security conference Saturday that U.S. intelligence indicates Iran could restart its secret nuclear weapons program "at any time" and remains a major threat to the region. Gates said the Iranian government also is supplying weapons to insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan, backing the radical Islamic movements Hizbullah and Hamas, and developing medium-range ballistic missiles. International pressure is the only impediment to Iran restarting its nuclear weapons program, Gates said. "Iran is keeping its options open and could restart its nuclear weapons program at any time - I would add, if it has not done so already." Following Gates' speech, some attendees accused the U.S. of a double standard for failing to object to Israel's possession of nuclear weapons. Asked whether he thought Israel's nuclear arsenal posed a threat to the region, Gates initially gave a four-word answer: "No, I do not."

2007-12-10 01:00:00

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