WASHINGTON: Serving and retired US officials warned on Tuesday that President Barack Obama would be prepared to military action to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon if sanctions and diplomacy failed.
Tensions between Iran and the US escalated on Monday when Iran court sentenced an Iranian-American man, Amir Hekmati, to death for allegedly spying for CIA.
On Tuesday, US officials told the media that Iran had confirmed the death sentence to America’s Swiss representatives in Tehran.
The Obama administration says the charges against Mr Hekmati, a 28-year-old former military translator, are a complete fabrication and wants him released.
US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland called on Iran Tuesday to suspend enrichment activities and cooperate fully with the IAEA after the UN atomic watchdog Agency announced that the Fordo site of Tehran had started enriching uranium to 20-percent purity.
The West’s showdown with Iran has heightened in recent days with Tehran issuing threats and warning the United States to keep its aircraft carriers away the strategic Strait of Hormuz.
Dennis Ross, who served two years on the US National Security Council and a year as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton`s special adviser on Iran, said he believed President Obama would use force to prevent Iran from going nuclear.
Earlier, America’s defence secretary and military chief also warned that developing a nuclear weapon would cross a red line, precipitating a US strike.
“They need to know that if they take that step, they’re going to get stopped”, Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said.
“There are consequences if you act militarily, and there’s big consequences if you don’t act,” said Mr Ross