Barak: Don’t Drop Iran Military Option

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has urged his U.S. counterpart Robert Gates to keep all options open in dealing with Iran’s nuclear program, his ministry said on Tuesday.

"A policy that consists of keeping all options on the table must be maintained," Barak told the U.S. defense secretary during a meeting in Washington on Monday, the ministry said in a statement.

"Iran’s plans pose a threat to regional and global stability. We insist that it is vital to continue tightening the economic and financial sanctions imposed on the Iranians."

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman confirmed that Gates and Barak met on Monday at the Pentagon but would provide no details on the substance of the discussions.

"They met for about an hour," he said. "The meeting was part of standard defense consultations."

Monday’s meeting came amid a continuing diplomatic impasse with Iran over its nuclear drive and just days after Tehran announced that its uranium enrichment facility in Natanz has now expanded to 6,000 centrifuges.

It also came after the United States on July 19 took the unprecedented step of sending a top diplomat to meet Iran’s chief negotiator at talks in Geneva aimed at resolving the standoff.

Washington also indicated it was considering sending diplomatic personnel to Tehran to open a U.S. interests section there.

(Agencies via Alarabiya)

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