Dennis Ross, President Barack Obama’s former Middle East advisor, said on Wednesday that the Obama administration is determined to prevent Iran from achieving a nuclear weapon and would certainly consider military action against the Islamic Republic.
In an interview with Israel’s Channel 10 News, Ross said that the recent public statements by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, reflect the fact that that the President and the administration “take this issue with the greatest degree of seriousness.”
“This is not something that we’re prepared to accept,” Ross said. “The administration continues to believe that there is time and space available to achieve the objective that Iran will not be a nuclear-armed country through non-military means.”
However, he added, “They’re also saying – if you look at the words of the Defense Secretary – that all options remain on the table. Obviously, it’s better to use diplomatic means to achieve the objective, but the fact is the United States is not prepared to adopt a position of containment towards Iran.”
When asked whether he believes President Obama would give an order to take military action against Iran, Ross said, “This is a president who has prided himself on doing what he says, so I think if he draws the conclusion that what is required is to take a certain kind of step, he’s prepared to take those steps.”
“It means that when all options are on the table and if you’ve exhausted all other means, you do what is necessary,” he added.
Ross also dismissed the idea that there is a lack of chemistry between President Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and that this lack of chemistry could have an effect on the way the Iranian issue is dealt with.
“They have spent more time in one-on-one conversations than maybe any other two leaders today,” he said. “They have discussed the most sensitive issues. They discussed the most important issues, and I think that when it comes to an issue like this, which is obviously of such profound importance, you can count on the fact that they will have a serious exchange. I think they already have.”
On Tuesday, Dempsey said that the United States can successfully attack Iran, if necessary.
“I am satisfied that the options that we are developing are evolving to a point that they would be executable if necessary,” Dempsey told CNN.
Dempsey’s comments came after on Monday, Panetta told CBS that Iran is a year or less away from achieving a nuclear weapon, but the United States will stop it – no matter what.