WASHINGTON – US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates admitted that the US has no strategy to block Iran's nuclear ambitions, the New York Times reported Sunday.
The paper carried an internal memo sent by Gates to the White House in which he states the country has no efficient, long-term plan to stave off Iran's progress towards creating a nuclear bomb.
The document was handed in January to President Barack Obama's national security adviser, General James Jones, as part of an effort by the Pentagon, the White House, and intelligence agencies to present Obama with his options.
Officials who discussed the document with the Times agreed to talk only about politics and strategy, and not about any secret operations. One of the officials called the memo a "wake-up call", but others said they had been working on detailed plans to counter the Iranian threat.
Gates expressed concern for the lack of strategy in the event that Iran chose to prepare the materials needed to create a bomb – nuclear fuel, designs, and fuses – but did not actually assemble it itself. This would allow it to claim it was observing the restrictions set by the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty while still becoming a nuclear state.
White House officials said the memo must be perceived in the proper way – as a warning to a relatively new president – and not as a call for panic.
General Jones refused to address the memo during an interview Friday, but said, "On Iran, we are doing what we said we were going to do. The fact that we don’t announce publicly our entire strategy for the world to see doesn’t mean we don’t have a strategy that anticipates the full range of contingencies — we do."