A U.S. military option is not just available but ready to go if Iran does not halt its nuclear program, according to U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro.
"It would be preferable to resolve this diplomatically through the use of pressure than to use military force," Shapiro said Tuesday to the Israel Bar Association.
"But that doesn't mean that option is not fully available. Not just available, but it's ready," he added. "The necessary planning has been done to ensure that it's ready."
While the comments were directed to an Israeli audience, media outlets in many capitals around the world are taking notice, including Tehran.
U.S. President Barack Obama has said in previous statements that a U.S. military option regarding Iran was on the table. However, some are saying Shapiro's comments take U.S. policy a step further.
Shapiro's comments come just ahead of talks in Baghdad, Iraq, between Iran and six major world powers - China, the U.K., Germany, the U.S., France, and Russia - on May 23rd. The talks will be to persuade Iran to open its nuclear facilities for inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency and for the country to reduce uranium enrichment.
Shapiro noted that diplomacy is still on table but said there is a small window of time for diplomacy to be utilized and alluded to the window narrowing with time.
Shapiro also made mention of Obama's decision to increase troop levels in Afghanistan and his order to kill Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan as examples of the President's readiness to use military force.
The U.S. and its allies, such as Israel, say Iran has been developing nuclear weapons. However, Iran denies the accusations, saying its nuclear program is to make medical isotopes and fuel for nuclear reactors.
Israel has recently mentioned a possible pre-emptive strike on Iran.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Monday that demands being made on Iran "are so minimalist that even if Iran were to accept all of them, it could still continue and advance its nuclear program."
by RTT Staff Writer
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