WASHINGTON, November 11 (Itar-Tass) —— U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta believes military action against Iranian nuclear objects ought to be the last resort and hopes that point will never be reached.
“I think our hope is that we don't reach that point and that Iran decides that it should join the international family,” Panetta told a press conference on Thursday adding the United States agrees that military action ought to be the last resort as it could have “unintended consequences” and would hardly stop the Iranian nuclear program.
Panetta was speaking after the International Atomic Energy Agency released a new report suspecting Iran in the development of nuclear arms. Iran denied the claims and reiterated it is developing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Tehran also threatened a strong response to any potential strike by Israel or the United States.
Panetta said he shared earlier assessments that a strike would only set Iran's nuclear program back by three years at the utmost.
“You've got to be careful of unintended consequences here. And those consequences could involve not only not really deterring 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 U.S. forces in the region,” Panetta said.