September 27th, 2009
01:03 PM ET
13 years ago

U.S. officials: Iran must prove peaceful intent or face sanctions

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Top U.S. officials say the underground nuclear facility that Iran revealed last week is illegal and likely intended for military purposes.

"I think that certainly the intelligence people have no doubt that … this is an illicit nuclear facility, if only … because the Iranians kept it a secret," Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in an interview broadcast Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."

"If they wanted it for peaceful nuclear purposes, there's no reason to put it so deep underground, no reason to be deceptive about it, keep it a … secret for a protracted period of time," Gates said.

In a separate interview broadcast Sunday on the CBS program "Face the Nation," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also called for the strongest possible sanctions if Iran can't prove a peaceful intent for the newly disclosed facility and its entire nuclear program.

"It would have been disclosed if it were for peaceful purposes," Clinton said, adding: "The Iranians keep insisting no, no, that's for peaceful purposes. That's fine. Prove it. Don't assert it. Prove it."

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Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Iran • Lindsey Graham • Robert Gates
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Thomas

    No, we have to prove that the Iranians are doing something wrong. They don't have to prove they are not doing something wrong.

    How does one prove a negative?

    September 27, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  2. roger

    Sanctions give me a break! They have billions they have recieved all the things they have needed through the blackmarket. The border is impossible to close to smugglers, so if you can stop food and medicine maybe a revolt but the GOV'T has the guns so a revolt won't help. If Israel bombs them we get $400 barrel gas but is it better to have $400 gas now or a threat or a bomb in the US or allies? I believe it is better to stop them now then wait and be possibly attacked in the future. When you talk NUKES you can't turn the other cheek!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 27, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  3. Mike in MN

    It's great that now that this new underground facility has been exposed that there is a stepped up call to get tougher on Iran.
    But other articles have stated that Obama actually knew about this site months ago. Making this public has worked to step up the pressure on Iran. Why did Obama wait? Months have been lost. Iran has been able to advance closer to a bomb during that time and Isreal has moved closer to the point where they will strike on their own. Did Obama just wait so he could grand stand at the G-20? This seems very odd to me.

    September 27, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  4. Iran will continue to do what they want.....

    and Obama has no courage to do anything about it....just like he did nothing in the N. Korean situation.....just more talk...blah, blah. blah

    September 27, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  5. Stu

    When Iran renounces terrorism, jihadism, UBL, Al Qaeda, Taliban, Sharia law, assists in the dismantling of terror groups, and formally recognizes Israel's right to exist, then they may have nuclear power.

    September 27, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  6. fhjetta

    Put on the stupid sanctions. Guys like Marc Rich love that so they can make bushels of money. Friend of Hillary and Bill.
    Israel will have to take this by themselves. Maybe the Jews living in America will wake up and quit voting Democrat.

    September 27, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  7. Kool-Aid addict

    Ahmadinejad says we should just believe him.
    Where have I heard that before?

    September 27, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  8. Denna

    Wow. I'll bet Iran was shocked to get caught with their hands in the nuclear cookie jar. Another dangerous revelation uncovered on President Obama's watch. Thanks to your US Intelligence agency for showing some this time. The other powers need to make it clear to Iran that this sort of deceit will not be tolerated.

    September 27, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  9. S Callahan

    This is foolish thinking...'prove it's for peaceful purposes'....what is the other alternative, prove it's not?..Now that would just draw the ire of the world. This man , his administration, has shown time and again they are dishonest ...there is a place for him after he leaves this world..but while he is here ..I sure wish he would do some self evaluation because he will be carrying the blood of many souls on him otherwise and that would be bad. Your citizens have demonstated they want peace, and said this to you even at the expense of their sitting under the feet of God... Please stop this childish stuff ...power is just an illuison that can burst at the swipe of God's hand.

    September 27, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  10. Richard Crutchfield

    When I read an article like this I always question our news media. "No reason to bury so deep" - no mention of earlier facility bombed. "Site is illegal" - under what law? Iran says they reported earlier than required. No meat to story. Can not leave with better understanding of the event. Why do I even read CNN (or the other main news medias).

    September 27, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  11. Peter

    I hate wars !! but time to kick Iranians butt has come. They are a threat to a peaceful Middle East.

    September 27, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  12. Jon Krieger

    Or Obama will get tough and put you "on notice" again!ooooooooooh!

    September 27, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  13. ComradeObummer

    I want a tiimeframe / deadline with these "so called" sactions.

    I haven't seen the UN ever stick to their guns.

    They NEVER, NEVER walk the talk.

    September 27, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  14. No Hillary = No Obama

    This little two-step dance that Iran is so adept at doing has now brought Obama to to dance floor. Dancing With The Enemy, I wonder how this will end.

    September 27, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  15. From a different perspective...

    At the UN ! Once again the West ridiculed a leader from the Islamic
    world. The way to look at the rambling, long and seemingly disoranized speech of Moammar Gadhafi is perhaps an excellent
    display how the West is disoranized in view of the economic, etc
    meltdown felt around the world and caused primarily by the USA.

    Frankly the UN has become an ineffective and do-nothing istitution
    serving only the Elite...!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 27, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  16. Ryan, Council Bluffs

    What sanctions? Like the US, China provides most of their "goods". We provide no "services" to them. I suppose food, but Iran's leadership already starves most of the people and limits food. Any sanctions will only hurt the everyday Iranian. Now, a nice well placed explosive device will hit the leadership in the reactor! If Obama does not have the resolve, Israel will take care of it. I like Israel, talk softly (and less) and carry a big stick.

    September 27, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  17. steven harnack

    So how do you prove intentions? It is not possible.the people making the statements know it is not possible, so what is the point? Like it or not Iran has just as much right to enrich uranium as we do and no matter how many times we say they don't, that is not going to change. As for building the facility underground, with Israel threatening every day to bomb them it just seems to be a sensible precaution. By the way, how many of our nuclear facilities are under ground in hardened situations? 64 years ago we let the genie out of the bottle and all of the wishing and threatening and military force will never put it back in . We might as well face that and deal with reality.Every nation on earth has just as much right to nuclear weapons as we do.

    September 27, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  18. Bpin

    Right. This is just a plain stupid statement. I guess that showing us , and I thought that Missouri was in the US, that they could care less about our "words" is just not good enough. We must face the fact that we do not carry the power that we once did on the world stage. Our words mean nothing. Only our actions can bring about any results. Instead of fighting needless religous wars in Afgan. and Iraq, why do we not go after the real threats to us, Iran and North Korea. Not with worthless words, but with real actions that really will make the world a safer place. Eliminate the threat.

    September 27, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |