Strike on Iran risks world economy: US

Strike on Iran risks world economy: US

Strike on Iran risks world economy: US

The most effective way to confront Iran is to use diplomacy, says Panetta. REUTERS photo

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said he would raise American concerns about the unintended consequences of any military action against Iran during talks with his Israeli counterpart Nov. 18, including its potential impact on the world economy.

Tension over Iran’s nuclear program has increased since the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported last week that Tehran appeared to have worked on designing a bomb and may still be conducting secret research to that end.

Panetta, speaking to reporters traveling with him to Canada, said the United States believed the most effective way to confront Iran still was to use diplomatic pressure and sanctions to try to curb the Islamic state’s nuclear program.

“Obviously to go beyond that raises our concerns about the unintended consequences that could result,” Panetta said. He pointed to a U.S. analysis that a strike on Iran would set back its nuclear program, which Iran says is only for peaceful purposes, by one or two years at most. It would also have implications for U.S. forces in the region. “And I have to tell you, thirdly, there are going to be economic consequences to that, that could impact not just on our economy but the world economy,” Panetta said.

Meanwhile, a senior Iranian envoy accused the head of the U.N. nuclear body of security leaks that expose his country’s scientists and their families to the threat of assassination by the U.S. and Israel. Ali Asghar Soltanieh says the leaks by International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano in a recent report have made Iranian scientists “the targets for assassination by ... (the) Israeli regime and United State(s) of America intelligence services.” The accusations reflect Iran’s fury with Amano over the report to the IAEA board detailing Tehran’s alleged secret research and development of nuclear weapons.

Compiled from Reuters and AP stories by the Daily News staff.