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Gates: Military Strike Against Iran Would Be ‘Catastrophic’

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Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates makes remarks after receiving the 2011 Liberty Medal at the  National Constitution Center on Sept. 22, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pa. (credit: William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates makes remarks after receiving the 2011 Liberty Medal at the National Constitution Center on Sept. 22, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pa. (credit: William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

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JACKSON, Tenn. (CBS Charlotte) — Former Secretary of State Robert Gates warns a military strike against Iran would be “catastrophic.”

Gates made the comment before Union University’s 15th Annual Scholarship Banquet.

“The results of an American or Israeli military strike on Iran could, in my view, prove catastrophic, haunting us for generations in that part of the world,” Gates said, according to The Virginian-Pilot.

The former defense secretary during the Bush and Obama administrations told the crowd that neither an attack from the United States or Israeli militaries would stop Iran from making a nuclear weapon.

“Such an attack would make a nuclear-armed Iran inevitable,” Gates said, according to the Pilot. “They would just bury the program deeper and make it more covert.”

Gates advised that U.S. officials need to make it clear to Israel “they do not have a blank check to take action that could do grave harm to American vital interests,” adding that an Israeli attack on Iran would set off terrorist attacks across the Middle East.

“In political terms, the tectonic plate has shattered,” Gates said, according to The Jackson Sun.

Gates believes the only way to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon is to increase diplomatic and economic sanctions.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has hinted that Israel is prepared to launch a military strike against Iran to stop the Tehran regime’s nuclear development. Israel believes Iran could have an atomic weapon ready by next year, while analysts believe Iran is years away from that type of weapon.

The White House said in a statement last week that both President Obama and Netanyahu are in “full agreement” that Iran cannot possess a nuclear weapon.

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