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US defense chief warns on Iran strike consequences

WASHINGTON - Military action against Iran could have "unintended consequences" in the region, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Thursday, hours after Tehran warned that an attack against its nuclear sites would be met by "iron fists."
Panetta, who took over the Pentagon's top job in July, said he agreed with an assessment of his predecessor, Robert Gates, that a strike on Iran would only delay its nuclear program, which the West believes is aimed at making an atomic bomb.Gates also warned it could unite the country and deepen its resolve toward pursuing nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful and that it is enriching uranium to power reactors for electricity generation.
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