Barak, Panetta
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak in Tel Aviv. Photo by Ariel Hermoni
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U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Monday that any action to stop Iran's nuclear program must be carried out with the coordination and consensus of the international community.

Speaking during a joint press conference with Defense Minister Ehud Barak in Tel Aviv, Panetta expressed concern regarding Iran's continued efforts to achieve nuclear capabilities and aid terror organizations.

He said that every nation must do everything it can to make it clear to the Iranians that they cannot continue on the path they are currently on.

Panetta also commented on the status of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard who was sentenced to life in prison in 1987, saying that many U.S. officials are starkly opposed to his release.
Panetta emphasized the United States' commitment to Israel's security and called on Israel to engage in negotiations with the Palestinians toward a two-state solution.

On Sunday, while making his way to Israel, Panetta said that Israel is becoming increasingly isolated in the Middle East, adding that U.S. security commitments should enable it to take "risks for peace."

Panetta's Tel Aviv appearance was part of the first leg of a Middle East trip that also includes meetings with Palestinian leaders, and a stop in Egypt to meet with top officials where he is expected to secure the release of American citizen Ilan Grapel, who is being held under suspicions of espionage for Israel.