Leon Panetta speaks with reporters on a plane 390 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Scott Olson/Pool)
US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Thursday night that he does not
have any specific information that indicates whether the Iranians have
made a decision to build a nuclear weapon, AFP reported.
would like to hope... that because of the leadership of the United
States, the international community and the leadership of Israel, they
can make the right decision," AFP quoted Panetta as saying after meeting
Chilean Defense Minister Andres Allamand.
Panetta began his trip to Latin America in Colombia earlier this week, as the US military seeks to deepen ties with the region.
Shortly before landing in Colombia on Monday, Panetta cast doubt
on Iranian military claims that it had started building a copy of a US surveillance drone captured last year.
Guards official was quoted as saying in Iranian media on Sunday that
engineers were in the final stages of decoding data from the Sentinel
aircraft, which came down in December near the Afghan border.
obviously a classified program and I don't want to get into the
particulars of that program," Panetta told reporters. "But I think I can
tell you based on my experience that I would seriously question their
ability to do what they say they've done."
Iran said the unmanned
aircraft was shot down, but Washington disputes that and has said in the
past that because of the drone's security systems, Iran is unlikely to get much
valuable data from the Lockheed Martin Corp aircraft.