September 25th, 2009
06:24 PM ET
13 years ago

Gates: Diplomacy could still work with Iran

WASHINGTON (CNN) - U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates says there is still room for diplomacy with Iran, which has stood firm by its nuclear program despite international concerns.

"The reality is, there is no military option that does anything more than buy time," Gates told CNN's John King in an interview set to air at 9 a.m. Sunday. "The estimates are one to three years or so.

"And the only way you end up not having a nuclear-capable Iran is for the Iranian government to decide that their security is diminished by having those weapons, as opposed to strengthened. And so I think, as I say, while you don't take options off the table, I think there's still room left for diplomacy."

The existence of a second uranium enrichment facility in Iran came to light Friday, prompting President Barack Obama and the leaders of Britain and France to publicly chide the Islamic republic and threaten further sanctions.

But the United States has actually known about the unfinished site since the Bush administration, according to senior U.S. officials who declined to be identified because of the sensitive nature of the negotiations.

It wasn't until Monday that Iran wrote a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency, revealing the existence of the underground facility on a military base near the holy city of Qom, the IAEA said. Qom is about 100 miles southwest of Tehran.

"The Iranians are in a very bad spot now because of this deception, in terms of all of the great powers," Gates said. "And there obviously is the opportunity for severe additional sanctions. And I think we have the time to make that work."

Filed under: Iran • Popular Posts • Robert Gates • State of the Union
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. valwayne

    Our intelligence services knew about this second facilty and Iran's rush to get a nuclear arsenal and share it with Hugo Chavez! That means Obama knew that the holocaust deniers in Iran who shot down Neda were lying to him and the world, but Obama still didn't want to meddle and still wants to chat with these murderers and crazies. And why didn't Obama come clean with the American public? What will Obama do now? Jimmy Obama will talk, and talk, and talk, and sound like he might do somthing, and talk, and talk, and offer to have tea with the holocaust denier. Then Iran will have nuclear weapons and Chavez shortly after. Neville Jimmy Obama is a disaster!

    September 25, 2009 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  2. G2009

    The Iranian government can never be trusted, they lied to us before and they will keep on lying. They abuse their people, they support terrorists with money and weapons. They are evil. The only way to stop them from getting a bomb is with military action, blockade or bombing take your pick. To think diplomacy alone will work is foolish. Our safety, the stabiliity of oil supply and the survival of Isreal depends on aggressive action against the Iranian government.

    September 25, 2009 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  3. William in San Jose

    Hey, what's with the "diplomacy", this is Amurkkka! War!

    September 25, 2009 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  4. Roger

    Diplomacy? You kidding me? Isn't this guy a Bush holdover? Its a sad day when you hear a Bush man talking about diplomacy. What happened to "bring it on"?

    September 25, 2009 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  5. bri6

    The real concern is Iran ending Israel. None of the Cristians who believe in the second coming, or first for the old testament followers will allow that without an armageddon as it is perscribed in the bible. Of course most followers on the ground deny that or don't really understand their death cult to begin with. Ron Paul 2012

    September 25, 2009 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  6. aware

    This is an old story and a pumped up photo op. You think you have time to equivocate while Iran builds bombs? Who do you think you are kidding? 🙁

    September 25, 2009 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  7. Sue

    Mr. Boma is as deceiving as the Iran and North Korea and Russian Leaders!!!!!! God please help this LOST nation!!!!

    September 25, 2009 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  8. RR

    The minute a high-ranking US official sits down with Iran's "President," is the minute the Obama adminstration throws every protestor in Iran these past few months under the bus.

    You cannot legitimize that regime!

    September 25, 2009 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
1 2