New Pentagon chief hopes to win NATO allies' support on Iran
Acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper says he wants to persuade NATO allies to form a broader international coalition to deter Iranian threats and force its leaders back to the negotiating table over its nuclear program. Esper says he needs to convince American allies that the latest increase in tension is not just "Iran versus the United States."
Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Tuesday he hoped to recruit support from NATO allies this week for U.S. efforts to deter conflict with Iran and "open the door to diplomacy," as he made his first trip as Pentagon chief.
"Express with us the concern, outrage ... with regard to Iran's activities in the region. That would be a good first step," Esper said, when asked during his flight to Brussels what he wanted to see from allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
"And then secondly, to support any range of activities we may think merit participation to help, again, deter conflict and show that we're resolute. What we're trying to do, what we want to do, to close the door to conflict and open the door to diplomacy."