President Barack Obama is prepared to use military force to stop Iran from building nuclear weapons, the president’s former special assistant on Iran has said.
According to Dennis Ross, Obama is very clear that he regards a nuclear-armed Iran as a threat to international security. "The Iranians should never think that there’s a reluctance to use the force,” Ross said in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek.
Ross served two years on Obama's National Security Council and one year with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Obama’s defense officials earlier warned that if Iran developed a nuclear weapon, it would be crossing a red line.
“They need to know that if they take that step, they’re going to get stopped,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told CBS News’s “Face the Nation” program on Sunday.
Until now, it has been assumed that while Obama was willing to try any amount of economic pressure to stop Iran from building a nuke, he would under no circumstances use military force to prevent it, reported Israel Today.
The president has been trying to impose harsh sanctions on Iran, in the hope that they would discourage the nation from pursuing a nuclear weapon.
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But the comments leaking out of the White House in the past couple of days hint at an alternate strategy, one that is prepared to use force if sanctions don’t work.
However, other commentators dismissed the latest announcements as an election ploy designed to make Obama seem tough in the face of an increasingly belligerent Iran.
In a blog for the New York Daily News, Abby W. Schachter called the White House “utterly incoherent” on the matter.
Administration officials and former advisers have been blitzing the media for the past two days with a single message: "Containment? No way. When we know that Iran is building a nuclear weapon, we'll take it out."
The incoherent part is that the administration and President Obama already know the Iranians are building a nuke.
Schachter called on Obama to come out and declare his own strategy for Iran, rather than speaking through proxies.