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Iran nuclear arms worst threat to global security: Gates

world Updated: Jul 17, 2009 07:29 IST

Iran's nuclear ambitions are the greatest current threat to global security, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said.

"Iran is the one that concerns me the most because there don't seem to be good options (or a scenario) where one can have any optimism that good options will be found," Gates told the Economic Club of Chicago yesterday.

The threat rests not only in Iran's apparent determination to seek a nuclear weapon, but in the "inability of the international community to affect their determination to do that," Gates said.

"All of the outcomes are negative," he said. "If they achieve one, the possibility of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East is very, very real.

"If something is done to prevent them from getting one, the consequences of that are completely unpredictable and frankly, very bad."

Gates says he has struggled to convince other nations, particularly Russia, that the Iranian situation does not simply threaten the United States.

"Iran's going to have the capability to deliver nuclear weapons to the people in their region a lot sooner than they're going to have the capability to deliver them to us," he added.