US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin named Iran as one of the main threats to the Middle East region, speaking on Saturday in the capital of Bahrain at the conference “Manama Dialogue”, organized by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.
“I would like to name the four most important challenges we face. These are pandemic, climate change, terrorism, and Iran,” said the head of the Pentagon, whose speech was broadcast live on the conference website.
Speaking about the situation around the nuclear deal with Tehran, Austin made it clear that Washington is determined to resolve this issue through diplomacy, but is ready to use any means to ensure its own security.
“I would like to express my concern about the destabilizing actions of the Iranian leadership, including its support for terrorism, its dangerous accomplices, and the nuclear program. The US is committed to preventing Iran from having nuclear weapons. We adhere to resolving this issue diplomatically, but if Iran is unwilling to get involved [in solving the problem] seriously, then we will use all available means to protect the security of the United States,” he said.
“We and our partners are returning to negotiations on a nuclear deal in good faith, but Iran’s actions in recent months cannot be called encouraging, especially due to the expansion of its nuclear program,” the head of the Pentagon stressed.
At the same time, he noted that the US is making every effort to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program.