WASHINGTON – US Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Sunday refused to address the notion of having to contain a nuclear armed Iran, saying US efforts were aimed at preventing it from acquiring atomic weapons.
"I don't think we're prepared to even talk about containing a nuclear Iran. I think... our view still is we do not accept the idea of Iran having nuclear weapons," he said in an interview with Fox News Sunday.
"And our policies and our efforts are all aimed at preventing that from happening," he said.
Asked whether a military strike against Iran was preferable to it acquiring nuclear weapons, Gates said all options remained on the table but added: "I think we have some time to continue working this problem."
Stepped up economic and diplomatic pressure had "a reasonable chance of getting the Iranian regime finally to come to their senses and realize their security is probably more endangered by going forward," he said.