White House national security adviser Susan Rice clarified on Monday that any U.S. military action against the Syrian regime is in part aimed to send a message to its ally Iran over its nuclear operation, Al-Arabiya reported.
Rice’s remarks at the New America Foundation think tank are part of a public effort by the White House to build support in order for Congress to authorize President Barack Obama to use military action against Syria.
Rice also said that the U.S. is morally bound to respond to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons against its own people since it raises threats to other countries in the region, including Israel, the region’s top U.S. ally.
A U.S. military strike on Syria is critical for the broader influence of the United States, which has joined Israel and European nations in warning Iran against developing nuclear weapons.
"We will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon," Rice declared. "As the president has said, all options remain on the table. For our efforts to succeed, however, the leaders in Tehran must know that the United States means what we say.".
"If we do not respond when Iran's close ally uses weapons of mass destruction, what message does that send to Iran? It risks suggesting that the international community cannot muster the will to act when necessary," Rice said.
In a hearing on Syria last week, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel also warned that failure to take action over Syria's use of chemical weapons would damage the credibility of America's pledge to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon
"A refusal to act would undermine the credibility of America's other security commitments - including the president's commitment to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon," he said, adding, "The word of the United States must mean something.”