US defense chief vows to counter Iran

Dubai, Nov 20 (AP) A top US defense official vowed on Saturday to deal with Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons and its “dangerous use” of suicide drones in the Middle East. The resolution comes amid stalled talks with world powers over Iran’s hanging nuclear deal.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s remarks at the annual Manama Dialogue are likely aimed at reassuring America’s Arab allies in the Gulf where the Biden administration is trying to revive the nuclear deal, which promised to replace Iran’s uranium with Iran’s uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. Promotion activity was limited.

His remarks came after the disorderly withdrawal of the US from Afghanistan by the Gulf countries. It has raised concerns about America’s commitment to the region where defense officials say they want to increase their strength to meet perceived challenges from China and Russia.

“The United States is committed to preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and we are committed to the diplomatic outcome of the nuclear issue,” Austin’s remarks said at the event organized by the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

“But if Iran is unwilling to engage seriously, it will look at all options necessary to keep America safe.”

Iran has long kept its nuclear program peaceful, although US intelligence agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency maintain that Tehran had an organized weapons program as far back as 2003.

AP Neha Shahid



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