Obama Ready to Strike to Stop Nuclear Iran, Ex-Adviser Says
No one should doubt that President Barack Obama is prepared to use military force to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon if sanctions and diplomacy fail, the president’s former special assistant on Iran said.
Obama has “made it very clear” that he regards a nuclear- armed Iran as so great a threat to international security that “the Iranians should never think that there’s a reluctance to use the force” to stop them, Dennis Ross, who served two years on Obama’s National Security Council and a year as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s special adviser on Iran, said in an interview yesterday.
“There are consequences if you act militarily, and there’s big consequences if you don’t act,” said Ross, who in a two- hour interview at the Bloomberg Washington office laid out a detailed argument against those who say Obama would sooner “contain” a nuclear-armed Iran than strike militarily.
The administration considers the risks of permitting a nuclear-armed Iran to be greater than the risks of military action, said Ross, who last month rejoined the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a research group.
His comments came after Obama’s top civilian and uniformed defense officials warned that Iran developing a weapon would precipitate a U.S. strike.
“Are they trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in an interview broadcast Jan. 8 on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” program. “But we know they’re trying to develop a nuclear capability. And that’s what concerns us. And our red line to Iran is, do not develop a nuclear weapon.”