Gates urges Arab allies: Strengthen ties with Washington to pressure Iran

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Monday urged allies in the Arab world to strengthen their military capabilities and defense cooperation with Washington in order to pressure Iran to halt its nuclear program, AFP reported. Gates said the Obama administration still favors diplomatic and economic approaches to the challenges posed by Iran, but explained that Teheran must realize its nuclear program will not enhance the Islamic Republic's security. "One of the pathways to get the Iranians to change their approach on the nuclear issue is to persuade them that moving down that path will actually jeopardize their security, not enhance it," Gates was quoted as saying in an interview with Al Jazeera. The US defense secretary reportedly went on to propose that "the more that our Arab friends and allies can strengthen their security capabilities, the more they can strengthen their co-operation, both with each other and with us, I think sends the signal to the Iranians that this path they're on is not going to advance Iranian security but in fact could weaken it."