US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates made clear to Israel that any air strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities would only have a temporary result and would not deter that nation from pursuing nuclear power, if anything, it would accelerate the push for nuclear weapons. Speaking to US senators, he insisted an air strike would merely send Iranian efforts underground and make even more difficult the quest to end its push for nuclear weapons. Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made clear the best way to deal with Iran was through negotiations, and if that effort failed, the imposition of economic sanctions. Gates emphasized the importance of involving Russia in efforts to stabilize the region and deal with the threat of nuclear weapons.
An Israel air strike would also result in hundreds of missiles being fired at Israel and the appearance of dozens of suicide bombers. As Gates made clear, at best nuclear development in Iran would only be set back, not ended.