via Lobe Log

The Virginian-Pilot reports that former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates restated his opposition to military strikes against Iran last night. The Republican made the comments to an audience of nearly 2,000 in Chrysler Hall as a speaker for the Norfolk Forum:

Neither the United States nor Israel is capable of wiping out Iran’s nuclear capability, he said, and “such an attack would make a nuclear-armed Iran inevitable. They would just bury the program deeper and make it more covert.”

….”The results of an American or Israeli military strike on Iran could, in my view, prove catastrophic, haunting us for generations in that part of the world.”

 ….United Nations sanctions aimed at discouraging Iran’s nuclear ambitions are starting to have an impact on the Iranian economy, he said, and “that’s our best chance going forward, to ratchet up the economic pressure and diplomatic isolation to the point where the Iranian leadership concludes that it actually hurts Iranian security and, above all, the security of the regime itself, to continue to pursue nuclear weapons.”

Gates also said the US Government should indicate that Israeli leaders “do not have a blank check to take action that could do grave harm to American vital interests.” Though Gates describes the Islamic Republic as “one of the greatest risks to Middle East stability and global security in our history,” he has repeatedly argued against  preemptive war and strongly criticized Netanyahu’s behavior towards President Obama in a private policy forum.