Robert Gates memo worries about long-term Iran strategy

April 18, 2010

(ChattahBox) – It may have taken a wake up call in the form of a secret memo from Defense Secretary Robert Gates warning top White House officials that they lack a long-term strategy in Iran, to get the White House in gear.  A senior official told the NY Times the memo, which Gates wrote in January after Iran failed to meet a 2009 deadline, prompted the White House, the U.S. military and the country’s intelligence agencies to get going on developing a long term strategy.  Gates warned that the administration has no plan to deal with likely scenarios, such as Iran builds all the main parts of a nuclear weapon but not assembling them, thereby becoming a “virtual” nuclear state while still abiding by the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Or how to deal with the possibility that fuel or weapons could be obtained by one of the terrorist groups Iran has supported, which officials said they considered to be a less-likely possibility.
Officials have said that there is a line that Iran will not be allowed to cross, which would come before the creation of an actual weapon, but Gates fears the CIA will miss signs that Tehran is close to producing a bomb.  The yet-to-be completed strategy includes military alternatives if the United States exhausts all diplomatic options and if sanctions fail to dissuade Iran from advancing its nuclear program.  While the Gates memo, may have been a catalyst, other officials say the Obama administration had been working on a long term Iran policy for 15 months.


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