"All options remain on the table"

US under-secretary is focused on making Iran sanctions work.

June 23, 2010 16:18
2 minute read.
US Under-Secretary of Defense for Policy Michele F

Michele Flournoy 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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All options, including a military one, are on the table to stop Iran, US Under-Secretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy said Wednesday, backtracking from comments she made two months earlier that the military option was off the table.

In Israel for a strategic dialogue with the Defense Ministry, Flournoy told reporters Wednesday that while America’s focus would be on imposing the new round of sanctions, it was keeping all options on the table.

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“All options remain on the table but right now our focus is on making the sanctions work,” she said in Tel Aviv.

In April, Flournoy was quoted as saying during a visit to Singapore that a US military option on Iran is off the table in the near term.

“The Obama administration remains fully committed to preventing Iran’s development of nuclear weapons,” she said Wednesday. “We have been pushing from the beginning for Iran to come into compliance with its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty and various United Nations resolutions. We started off with a serious offer of engagement and were joined by international partners, and Iran chose not to engage seriously.

We most recently turned to the pressure track, the first step [being] sanctions.”

Flournoy will stay in Israel for several days and hold a number of highlevel discussions with the country’s top military and defense brass about a widerange of issues, including continued American funding of various defense projects such as the Iron Dome short-range missile defense system, the Arrow ballistic missile defense system and Israel’s interest in purchasing the stealth F-35 fighter jet.

“The defense relationship between Israel and US is stronger than ever...[and] the US remains fully committed to Israel’s qualitative military edge (QME),” she said.

According to Flournoy, the US maintained a policy of transparency in its contacts with Israel and regarding military sales to other countries in the region.

“This administration has a very candid and ongoing dialogue with our Israeli counterparts on QME concerns they may have, whether on assistance to other countries in the region or prospective sales, and we try to be transparent and provide assurances,” she said.

Flournoy said that the United States was waiting to see the results of the various inquiry panels into the IDF’s raid last month on the Gaza flotilla while adding that Turkey appeared to be searching for a new role in the region.

“There are areas where we have very shared perspective and cooperation [with Turkey] like on Iraq and there are areas where we had difference of views like on the vote at the UNSC on Iran,” she said.

Turkey did not support the UN Security Council resolution to impose a new round of sanctions on Iran.

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