U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned on the eve of talks with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak that a strike on Iran could harm the world economy, saying the U.S. focus was on diplomatic pressure and sanctions.
"There are going to be economic consequences to that (an Iran strike), that could impact not just on our economy but the world economy," Panetta told reporters traveling with him on Thursday to Canada, where he will attend a security forum and hold bilateral talks with Barak.
In an interview with Army Radio, Barak warned on Thursday that the Iranian nuclear program is not aimed solely at Israel, and urged world leaders to impose further sanctions on the Islamic republic.
Speaking with Army Radio from Canada, Barak said Israel is currently struggling to recruit the international community to stand firm against Iran and impose concrete sanctions in order to stop its nuclear program.
"In order to do this," Barak explained, "we must convince world leaders and the public that the Iranian nuclear program is not only targeting Israel, but the foundations of the entire world order as well."
Meanwhile, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Thursday it wants to send a special high-level mission to Iran to address mounting concerns the country may be seeking to design nuclear weapons.
IAEA chief Yukiya Amano said he had written to the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Agency earlier this month to suggest the visit, which would air issues raised by the IAEA's latest report on Iran.
Last week's report presented the agency's clearest findings to date that Iran has been conducting research and experiments relevant to developing a capability to build nuclear bombs, and that some activities may continue.
Iran denies that it is seeking atomic weapons, dismissing intelligence information in the IAEA report as fabricated.
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