Washington says “all options are on the table” in dealing with Tehran, in a veiled threat, which refers to a new US nuclear policy.
During a Sunday address to attendees of a Pentagon briefing, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates touched on the newly-crafted Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), under which the Obama administration promises not to use nuclear weapons against states that do not possess nuclear warheads, with the exception of Iran.
The US defense secretary further added that the Obama administration is taking measures to apply a policy of "no first use of nuclear weapons". However, he asserted, the administration is not ready to fully relinquish its right for pre-emptive strikes.
The NPR was met with instant condemnation in Iran, which has been a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) since 1968, yet was excluded from the list of non-atomic states insured against US nuclear weapons.
The United States is the first country in the world to develop such weapons, and is the only country to have used them in wartime.
Washington officials, notably those in the White House, are driven by the notion that Iran is attempting to build nuclear weapons.
Tehran has rejected the claims, saying that its uranium enrichment is intended solely for peaceful civilian applications such as the production of electricity and radio medicines.
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