U.S. keeps options open on Iranian nukes

Oct. 9, 2013 at 11:11 AM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- The U.S. Defense Department said it's committed firmly to a policy of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon despite Iran's diplomatic outreach.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said there is no room for nuclear weapons in his administration. He's reached out to adversaries to allay their concerns over a controversial nuclear program.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met in Washington with Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon to discuss Iran's posture.

The Defense Department said Tuesday the secretary "noted that while the United States intends to test the prospect for a diplomatic solution with Iran we remain clear eyed about the challenges ahead and will not waver from our firm policy to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons."

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the U.N. General Assembly last week his government was wary of Iran's uranium enrichment work. He said this would let Tehran maintain the latent ability to produce weapons-grade fuel.

Iran said it would provide nuclear assurances during multilateral talks next week in Geneva. Iranian nuclear officials said there are no plans, however, to stop enriching uranium to 20 percent purity at its Fordo nuclear facility.

Enrichment beyond 20 percent is considered a breakthrough on the path to a nuclear weapon.

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