US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta 390 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)
WASHINGTON – Defense Secretary Leon Panetta reiterated Tuesday that the Obama
administration believed Israel had not yet determined whether to attack
“We do not think that Israel has made this decision,” he told the
US Senate Armed Services Committee, echoing recent comments by US President
He was questioned following the publication of a column by
columnist David Ignatius describing Panetta as deeply worried by
an Israel attack as early as April.
Panetta acknowledged having spoken
with Ignatius but said he was not intending to send any message through that
“We have common cause with Israel, we have common cause
with the international community, with regards to concerns about Iran,” he told
“We’ve made very clear that they are not to develop a nuclear
weapon. We’ve made very clear that they are not to close the Straits of Hormuz,”
he continued. “We’ve also made very clear that they are not to export terrorism
and try to undermine other governments.”
He added that he believed
sanctions were working and that it was important the international community
stay unified in that effort.
“We think that the approach of the
international community, to apply sanctions, to apply pressure, is having an
impact. It has isolated Iran,” he assessed. “My hope would be that we could all
stick together in ensuring that we continue to isolate Iran.”