Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told U.S. Vice President Joe Biden during their meeting in New Orleans on Sunday that sanctions have hurt Iran but are not stopping its attempts to produce nuclear weapons. According to Israeli press reports, the Israeli leader said that a credible threat of military action is the only way to ensure that Tehran will rethink its nuclear program.
However, Washington was quick to dismiss the call to use force against Iran. "I disagree that only a credible military threat can get Iran to take the action that it needs to end its nuclear weapons program," U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Monday. "Sanctions against Iran were already beginning to bite," Gates said during a visit to Australia. "We are prepared to do what is necessary. But at this point we continue to believe that the political, economic approach that we are taking is in fact having an impact in Iran." However, Gates said that all options remained on the table. "The president has said repeatedly that when it comes to Iran that all options are on the table and we are doing what we need to do to ensure that he has those options," he said.