Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told reporters today that U.S. military force is an option in stopping Iran from developing nuclear weapons. But he said the military option should be one of last resort:
"We have to exhaust every option, every effort, before we resort to military action. The international community has applied very strong sanctions against [the Iranians]. We have ratcheted up those sanctions. It’s having an impact.”
Panetta made his comments during a news conference with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak at an Iron Dome anti-missile battery near the Israeli city of Ashkelon.
Barak's own comments to reporters indicated he wasn't willing to be as patient as Panetta:
“It’s important to notice that while sanctions are taking place and diplomacy is taking place, it takes time. And in the meantime, the Iranians are daily enriching uranium. We clearly have something to lose by this stretched time.”
Panetta said earlier this week in Tunisia that "all options" were on the table to keep Iran from developing its nuclear program.