September 25th, 2009
06:24 PM ET
12 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. ICARE

    Iran's empire has existed for thousands of years. They're smart. Hopefully they'll make the right decisions.

    September 25, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  2. Robin

    We tried being nice to Hitler back in the 30's. Didn't work.

    September 25, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  3. AntiRush

    The only way to keep Iran in line is to get all of the major companies, including China and Russia, to do it. This newest deception will give China and Russia one less reason to trust Ahmanutjob.

    September 25, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  4. Dan

    So, buy time first, buy more time later, buying time in Serbia worked, so buy time against these equally or even worse guys, this will make people in Iran continue their opposition to this oppressive regime that kill many people silently, and help free the Iranian people!

    September 25, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  5. GuyInVA

    Gates: Diplomacy Could Still Work With Iran.

    GuyInVA: No It Can't.

    September 25, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  6. Willy Brown

    Gates I'd never thought you'd drink the Kool-Aid.

    September 25, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  7. Boehnhead

    Does everyone know Israel, or more aptly Begin and Netanyahu, invented terrorist bombings at the Hotel David? Killing 91 British? Who saved their "bacon" during WW2 and gave them a home?

    September 25, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  8. Four and The Door

    Certainly the level of diplomacy should be commensurate with the fact that the Iraninan President has lied and has been caught red handed. Understand that President Bush made a long, extended and serious effort to use diplomacy in Iraq before unleashing Shock & Awe. The problem was that in that case also Saddam Hussein had already chosen his path of lies and deception. The deception was not that he actually had WMD but that he wanted the world to believe that he did. He should have been smart enough to know better than that. He probably came to that realization as they were pulling him out of his dirt hole.

    September 25, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  9. Bassman

    A speech was given at the United Nations General Assembly yesterday that was full of hateful anti-Semitic rhetoric. It was a shameful display before a body whose very charter is premised on the need for co-operation and harmony in pursuit of peaceful co-existence between nations. Such talk was especially abhorrent coming as it did during the Jewish High Holidays. The world community must speak with one voice in declaring anti-Semitism and all forms of intolerance and racism utterly unacceptable. There is no place in the community of peace-loving nations for those who traffic in hate or deny the terrible atrocity of the Nazi Holocaust. Taken from Sarah Palin's Facebook. My comment: And Pres. Obama thought it would be good to meet this man. How naive.

    September 25, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  10. Independent

    That's right. The American government does not want diplomacy, they want WAR. Not so much Obama, but he is stuck in the middle!!

    September 25, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  11. LacrosseMom(stuck in moderation)

    Of course, diplomacy can still work! Thank you, Mr. Gates! A sane conservative! Praise GOD!

    September 25, 2009 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  12. kaleto

    Watch out, A-jad...if you don't stop trying to make an A-bomb, King Obama will give you such a scolding!

    September 25, 2009 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  13. ib

    Gates has turned into another far left dreamer. Of course if we give them everything they want they will still laugh at how dumb the present president and his staff are.

    September 25, 2009 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  14. Stu

    Uh, no it won't.

    September 25, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  15. Cindy

    Pretty soon, Iran's only aly will be Osama Bin Laden.

    Can you imagine the Iranian people's reaction to that?

    September 25, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |

    I doubt diplomacy can still work with Iran.

    Republicans are already hard at work manufacturing a connection between Iran's secret program and ACORN.

    By Monday, right wing operatives will have invented an insidious connection between Ahmadinejad, Barack Obama, and those couple of former employees at ACORN.

    And Fixed "News" will be endlessly repeating nonsense about this new Axis of Evil to make people as afraid and angry as possible.

    You just can't negotiate with these people.

    September 25, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  17. Loup Garou 782

    Yes diplomacy will work as long as Iran is dictating the terms. Short of that they will shut down the strait of Hormuz, then what will be your solution?.........Bow to their wishes?

    September 25, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  18. victim of republican greed

    Another great job by President Obama to get China and Russia in on this. Since this happened in Iran during "W's"watch, I guess cowboy diplomacy didn't work after all. We are fortunate to have elected a problem solver and not another problem maker.

    September 25, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  19. jaye

    Yes, I agree that diplomacy will work much better than war – and I thank goodness that bush isn't still in power, otherwise, he'd start a war with Iran.

    September 25, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  20. T'SAH from Virginia

    When President Obama spoke about diplomacy during his campaign and he was ridiculed!!! Now all of a sudden – it's OKAY!!!! Where are the 'pre-conditions'???

    September 25, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  21. Larry of Boston

    The word "diplomacy" is a foreign concept in the mid east and the muslim world.

    Time for Obama to do what he promised – get the hell out of irag and Afghanistan; bring all the troops home; and begin fixing homeland security, and securing our borders.

    September 25, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  22. Johnny DC

    Which part of diplomacy has Iran (or any Arab nation for that matter) ever, ever, EVER responded to?

    I'm sick and tired of seeing "tribute videos" made by Islamic people on Youtube and Facebook signaling the brutality of Americans and Israelis against the poor defenseless nations of Islam.

    Never before have these countries responded diplomatically to any offering, truce, or discussion. One day - not with this administration, of course - we will end this once and for all, the only way they know how. I pray it isn't in retaliation for a nuclear weapon detonated in a major US city, but that is likely going to be the catalyst, unfortunately.

    September 25, 2009 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  23. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Hopefully Israel will do what the current occupant of the White House doesn't have the 'nads to.

    September 25, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  24. Sal

    If President Bush had not ignored Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, American would not be in this current situation. But no, he had to lie to the American people to invade and occupy a nation that he no business going to war with. Now the Taliban have resurged and killing Americans in Afghanistan, and Pakistan is on the edge. North Korea is always threatening to blow the world up, and Iran now has a second nuclear site. All of this is dumped on President Obama, and now people are trying to blame Obama for it. At least he pushed Bush to get our troops out of Iraq, and now President Obama can focus on the countries that need focusing on.

    September 25, 2009 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  25. No Hillary = No Obama

    Diplomacy? Iranian leaders are deniers, liars, repressors and oppresssors. This is like trying to to use diplomacy to extract the truth or form a relationship with Charlies Manson or any other psychopath. The Obama administration better get real, real fast.

    September 25, 2009 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
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