Middle East News
Obama updates military plans for Iran
May 22, 2009, 16:41 GMT
Washington - The Pentagon has updated its plans for using military force against Iran at the request of President Barack Obama, Defence Secretary Robert Gates said Friday.
The United States has not ruled out the possibility of a military strike if diplomacy fails to resolve the international dispute over Iran's nuclear activities, Gates said.
'Presidents always ask their military to have a range of contingency plans available to them,' Gates told NBC television. 'And all I would say is that, as a result of our dialogue with the president, we've refreshed our plans and all options are on the table.'
Obama has strongly backed the diplomatic effort to rein in Iran's nuclear programme and is exploring ways to break with past American policies and open up one-on-one discussions with Tehran.
Obama said 30 years of trying to isolate Iran have failed to prevent the country from pursuing nuclear technology the West suspects is intended to develop an atomic bomb. Iran says its uranium enrichment programme is solely for meeting energy needs.
During a visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, Obama said that he would expect a positive response to his diplomatic overtures by the end of the year. Obama also said he will pursue tougher international sanctions if Iran does not comply with UN demands regarding its nuclear ambitions.