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Pentagon Says U.S. Has Iran Options

The U.S. Defense Department says Defense Secretary Robert Gates believes President Barack Obama and his national security team "have spent an extraordinary amount of time and effort considering and preparing for the full range of contingencies" regarding Iran's nuclear program.

The statement from Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell was issued in response to a "New York Times" report on April 17 saying that Obama administration officials have begun to consider new options, including potential military alternatives, for how to deal with the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.

The "Times" report, quoting unidentified government officials, said Secretary Gates had warned in a secret memorandum to the White House that the United States lacks an "effective long-range policy for dealing with Iran's steady progress toward nuclear capability."

The report said the memo, sent in January, launched efforts to develop new options, including potential uses of the military, that could be considered if diplomacy and sanctions fail to persuade Iran to curb its nuclear development.

The Associated Press quotes White House National Security Council spokesman Benjamin Rhodes as saying the administration "has been planning for all contingencies regarding Iran for many months," and no recent memorandum had led to a "reassessment" of options.

compiled from agency reports