Military action against Iran may have 'unintended consequences' in region: Panetta

Islamabad, Nov 12 (ANI): US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has warned that military action against Iran could have 'unintended consequences' in the region. Although he acknowledged that a military option must be kept available, he insisted it might not result in "really deterring Iran from what they want to do." "You've got to be careful of unintended consequences here. It could have a serious impact in the region and it could have a serious impact on US forces in the region," The Nation quoted Panetta, as saying. His caution came hours after Iran's Supreme leader warned Israel and the United States that Tehran would respond with "a strong slap and iron first" if either of them launched a military strike on the country's nuclear programme. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was speaking two days after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released a report that said that for the first time Iran was conducting experiments with the sole purpose of developing nuclear arms. "The enemies, particularly the United States and its pawns and the Zionist regime, should know that the Iranian nation does not seek to invade any country or nation," Khamenei said. "But Iran will strongly respond to any invasion or attack with such power and in a way that the aggressors and invaders will be smashed from the inside. Anybody who takes up the idea of an attack on Iran, should get ready to receive a strong slap and an iron fist," he added. . British Foreign Secretary William Hague said that the world was entering a "dangerous new phase" as far as Iran is concerned. (ANI)