WASHINGTON, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Israel should avoid taking unilateral military action against Iran in response to growing nuclear weapons concerns, the German defense minister said.
The United States and its allies have said all options are available to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear-weapons state. Iranian officials said recently they believed Israel was bluffing about eliminating a perceived nuclear threat through a military strike, however.
"I hope Israel will join the efforts of the international community and will not resort to unilateral action," he said through an interpreter during a press briefing. "Germany will also stand by Israel. What this means in concrete terms remains to be seen."
Iran this week announced it inserted domestically made fuel plates into its nuclear research reactor in Tehran. The country declared the development as a breakthrough in its nuclear program that occurred in the face of growing international pressure.
Panetta said Washington's position on Iran's nuclear positions were straightforward.
"We've made it very clear that we will not tolerate their having a nuclear weapon," he said.