White House: No rush on Iran

The White House won't be rushing to make a decision on Iran's nuclear program, White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday.

While Carney would not respond directly to questions about whether President Obama would have to decide within a year whether to use military force against Iran to stop it from obtaining nuclear weapons, he did say Obama's policy is "clear."

"The president has made clear two things,” Carney said at Monday's White House press briefing. “One, that he is determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. He has also said that he takes no options off the table.”


Defense Secretary Panetta said over the weekend in a "60 Minutes" interview that Iran could develop a nuclear weapon within a year and have a delivery system for the weapons in two to three years, if it attempted to pursue them. Iran has claimed its nuclear program is for producing energy, while the United States and its allies say Iran is trying to make a weapon.

Obama said at the State of the Union that no option was off the table to stop Iran from obtaining nukes, echoing a statement from Panetta that Iran would not be allowed to cross a “red line" and obtain nuclear weapons.

Asked whether Panetta’s view puts a timetable on Obama, Carney said: "It doesn't change our strategy, which is to continue to put pressure, continue to isolate, continue to make clear to Iran what its options are."

Obama has said the United States wants to resolve the nuclear issue with Iran diplomatically. The United States and European Union have both imposed economic sanctions against Iran’s oil exports, prompting Iran to threaten to close the Strait of Hormuz, a vital oil passageway in the Persian Gulf.

The United States has said it would stop Iran from closing the strait, leading Iran to back down on that front, but not on its nuclear one. Iran recently moved uranium enrichment into an underground facility.

The United States, in turn, has started pursuing upgrades to its bunker-busting bomb to go even deeper than current model.