Tags: gates | israel | iran | attack

Robert Gates Warns Israel Attack on Iran Would Be 'Catastrophic'

Friday, 05 Oct 2012 07:23 AM

By Newsmax Wires

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Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said a military attack on Iran could "prove catastrophic."

Gates, who headed the Pentagon during the administration of former President George W. Bush and remained at the post when Barack Obama became president, said the United States must also make it clear to Israel that it cannot launch an attack that would harm vital American interests, the Jersusalem Post reports.

Israel's leaders "do not have a blank check to take action that could do grave harm to American vital interests," Gates said at an event in Norfolk, Va.

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"The results of an American or Israeli military strike on Iran could, in my view, prove catastrophic, haunting us for generations in that part of the world," Gates said

He also said America and Israel lack the capability to wipe out Iran's underground facilities permanently, UPI reports, and an unprompted attack would ensure a nuclear Iran eventually, after the country digs its labs deeper underground and redoubles its resolve.

Gates said the United States and Israel should continue with economic sanctions and international isolation, which he said will convince Iranian leaders to abandon their nuclear ambitions.

"Our best chance going forward, to ratchet up the economic pressure and diplomatic isolation to the point where the Iranian leadership concludes that it actually hurts Iranian security and, above all, the security of the regime itself, to continue to pursue nuclear weapons," Gates said.

Gates' comments come on the heels of his very public criticism of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In a Bloomberg interview last month, he called Netanyahu an ungrateful ally and blamed him for isolating Israel diplomatically.

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