Gates sees sanctions as best bet on Iran

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The U.S. defense secretary said economic sanctions would be more successful than diplomacy in dealing with Iran.

"I think frankly from my perspective, the opportunity for success is probably more in economic sanctions in both places than it is in diplomacy," said Robert Gates on the television program "Fox News Sunday," referring to both Iran and North Korea. "Diplomacy — perhaps if there is enough economic pressure placed on Iran — diplomacy can provide them an open door through which they can walk if they choose to change their policies, and so I think the two go hand in hand. But I think what gets them to the table is economic sanctions."

Gates’ remarks came a little more than a week after President Obama launched an effort to diplomatically engage Iran, sending a videotaped message to the Iranian people.

The defense secretary also said on the program that Iran has "enough low-enriched uranium" to give it the capacity to make a weapon "should they enrich it more highly." But he said the United States does not believe that Iran has the capability yet.

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