Iran Can Stop Economic, Diplomatic Sanctions, Official Says
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 5, 2012 Economic and diplomatic sanctions are “biting” Iran, but Iranian government leaders can stop the pain by ending their nuclear weapons program, a senior Pentagon official said today.
“Our assessment of the program remains the same. … We are very concerned about where they might be headed,” said George Little, acting assistant secretary of defense for public affairs. “An Iran with a nuclear weapon is unacceptable.”
The United States has made that point crystal clear that all options are on the table to prevent Iran from developing that capability, Little said in a meeting with reporters.
“We don’t know, at this stage, whether they have made the decision to proceed with the development of a nuclear weapon,” he said. “It would be unacceptable if they do move forward.”
American experts are working to discern just what Iranian leaders have decided. “Our government has been very clear about what needs to happen,” Little said. If Iran gives up its nuclear program, he noted, the country can rejoin the community of nations.
Little said Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta believes the sanctions are working. Independent news reports out of Tehran also stress the sanctions are impacting Iranians much harder now than in months past.
“The Iranian regime is increasingly isolated because of these sanctions, and they know the impact they are having inside Iran,” Little said. “Whether it factors into their calculus on the nuclear program is up to the Iranians.”