US lacks long-term policy to curb Iran's nuke drive: Gates

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Washington, Apr. 18 (ANI): Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has said the United States does not have an effective long-range policy for dealing with Iran's steady progress toward nuclear capability.

According to officials, the secret three-page memorandum describes only portions dealing with strategy and policy, and not sections that apparently dealt with secret operations against Iran, or how to deal with Persian Gulf allies.he New York Times quoted one senior official, as saying that the document is "a wake-up call."

The paper reports that Gates wrote of a variety of concerns, including the absence of an effective strategy should Iran choose the course that many government and outside analysts consider likely.

According to several officials, the memorandum also calls for new thinking about how the United States might contain Iran's power if it decided to produce a weapon, and how to deal with the possibility that fuel or weapons could be obtained by one of the terrorist groups Iran has supported, which officials said they considered to be a less-likely possibility.

Gates's spokesman, Geoff Morrell, declined to comment on specifics in the document, but issued a statement on Saturday saying, "The secretary believes the president and his national security team have spent an extraordinary amount of time and effort considering and preparing for the full range of contingencies with respect to Iran."

Pressed on the administration's ambiguous phrases until now about how close the United States was willing to allow Iran's program to proceed, a senior administration official described last week in somewhat clearer terms that there was a line Iran would not be permitted to cross.

Gates's memo appears to reflect concerns in the Pentagon and the military that the White House does not have a series of alternatives in place in case all the diplomatic steps finally fail. (ANI)

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