U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta assured Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday that America will prevent Iran from “ever acquiring a nuclear weapon.”
Speaking to reporters at a joint news conference prior to their meeting in Jerusalem on Wednesday, the two leaders discussed the threat posed by Iran's continuing race towards nuclear weapons.
The American defense secretary took the opportunity to plug the U.S. funding for the Iron Dome program. “I am very proud of the support the United States has been able to provide Israel to acquire this life saving capability. Your yourself said that this is not about something to start wars with – this is designed to prevent wars and I agree with that.”
Nevertheless, it was clear that Panetta was more focused on the issue of making sure that Israel did not proceed with an independent operation against Iran.
"I want to reassert again the position of the United States that with regards to Iran: We will not allow Iran to develoop a nuclear weapon, period. We will not allow them to develop a nuclear weapon, and we will exert all options in the effort to ensure that that does not happen,” Panetta said.
"Iran is the foremost sponsor of terrorism, and everything must be done to keep Iran, the world's most dangerous regime, from developing the world's most dangerous weapons,” Netanyahu said.
"Neither sanctions nor diplomacy have yet had any impact on Iran's nuclear weapons program. America and Israel have also made clear that all options are on the table. You yourself said a few months ago that when all else fails, America will act. But these declarations have also not yet convinced the Iranians to stop their program,” Netanyahu pointed out.
"So I look forward to speaking to you about this challenge and about the many other challenges facing our region during this turbulent time. G-d knows that there are so many of them and each day just adds new ones...”