AFP: Obama to face Iran nuclear crisis in first year, ex US official warns *

AFP / Google News
09.12.2008

WASHINGTON (AFP) — Incoming US President Barack Obama will likely face a “serious crisis” over Iran’s nuclear ambitions in his first year in office, former US defense secretary William Perry predicted here Thursday.

The star-studded event sponsored by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) was dominated by calls for Obama to check the spread of nuclear know-how

“If Iran and North Korea cannot be contained, we are facing a real danger of a cascade of nuclear proliferation,” Perry warned said. “Indeed I believe that today we are truly on the tipping point of nuclear proliferation.”

The multilateral talks “are going nowhere,” said Perry, who was defense secretary under President Bill Clinton.

“As a result President Obama will almost certainly face a serious crisis with Iran. Indeed, I believe that crisis point will be reached in his first year in office,” he added.

“I’m motivated … by a strong belief that the gravest danger facing our nation today is a terror group detonating a nuclear bomb in one of our cities,” Perry said.

James Schlesinger, another former US defense secretary, told a separate audience that Iran may regard the threat of a US nuclear attack as “much more likely” in light of Hillary Clinton’s warning during the US presidential campaign that Washington can obliterate Tehran.

asked whether Iran feared a US nuclear attack, Schlesinger said: “I think they would regard that as a much more likely development.”

“As you may recall in the recent democratic primaries, Mrs Clinton observed, ‘We can obliterate you’,'” he said,

Noting that Obama has chosen Clinton to be his secretary of state, he added “I don’t think that remark will be forgotten in Tehran, even if it is forgotten in this country.”

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