US seeks to tighten squeeze on Iran before talks

Congress members call to enforce sanctions against foreign companies doing business with Teheran.

December 10, 2010 23:47
3 minute read.
Iranian technicians at Bushehr nuclear power plant

Iran Reactor 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

WASHINGTON – The top nuclear adviser at the White House says the US wanted to continue to increase pressure on Iran through sanctions in coming days so that Teheran doesn’t exploit the diplomatic process.

White House Coordinator for Weapons of Mass Destruction, Counter-Terrorism and Arms Control Gary Samore indicated additional measures could come before the follow-up meeting next month to direct nuclear talks between Iran, the US and other influential countries held this week, the first in more than a year.

“Sanctions have a direct impact on the pace of Iran’s nuclear program, by making it more difficult for Iran to obtain the central materials and components for its nuclear program,” he said.

Still, speaking at a panel before Samore, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Ya’acov Amidror, former commander of the IDF’s National Defense College and the IDF Staff and Command College, noted Israel’s deep skepticism that sanctions would succeed in stopping Iran’s nuclear program.

“It’s almost impossible to stop Iran without military force, but we should not rush to use [it]” without having tried absolutely everything else, he said.

In preparation for such a last-resort scenario, he indicated that Israel had drawn up plans for such an attack.

“We’ll be ready,” he said.

But he noted the limitations of Israel’s capabilities, saying that a naval blockade or strikes on targets other than Iran’s nuclear facilities were beyond the capacity of the Israeli military.

Though those types of actions, if taken, would have to be done by America, he stressed that Israel wouldn’t ask the US to undertake a military operation it didn’t perceive to be in US national interests.

“We are not pushing America to take military action,” he said. “Israel is not asking for someone else to do the job of protecting Israel.”

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