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Gates denies Iran memo as "wake-up call" to White House

2010-04-19 13:17 BJT

WASHINGTON, April 18 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Sunday admitted sending a memo about Iran to the White House, but denied that it was a "wake-up call," as characterized by the New York Times, which disclosed the existence of the memo earlier.

Gates said the report had "mischaracterized" the memo's "purpose and content," and it was not "intended as a 'wake-up call' or received as such by the President's national security team."

According to the New York Times report, the January memo contained "highly classified analysis," and it warned the White House official that the administration does not have an effective long-term policy for dealing with Iran's nuclear program. The source who revealed it to the media described it as a "wake-up call," a notion disputed by the White House.

Gates argued with the administration's pivot to put pressure on Iran earlier this year. He said the memo simply "identified next steps" in defense planning where "further interagency discussion and policy decisions would be needed."

He said the memo "presented a number of questions and proposals intended to contribute to an orderly and timely decision making process."

According to the story, the memo came at a time when the Pentagon, the White House and the intelligence agencies were intensifying efforts to develop new options on how to deal with Iran.

The West has accused Iran of attempting to develop nuclear weapon, but Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only. The United States has adopted a dual-track approach to deal with the Iran nuclear issue, which is a combination of engagement and pressure.


Editor: Zhang Pengfei | Source: Xinhua