Friday, November 11, 2011

US defence chief Panetta warns against Iran strike

The US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has said a military strike against Iran could have "unintended consequences".

He said it would only delay Iran's nuclear efforts by three years at most.

Correspondents say the comments appear to play down speculation that a military strike might be used to cripple Tehran's nuclear programme.

On Tuesday, the UN's nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, said Iran was carrying out research aimed at developing nuclear weapons capacity.

"You've got to be careful of unintended consequences here," Mr Panetta told reporters in Washington, when asked about his concerns about a military strike.

He acknowledged military action might fail to deter Iran "from what they want to do".

"But more importantly, it could have a serious impact in the region, and it could have a serious impact on US forces in the region," he said.

"And I think all of those things need to be carefully considered." more