U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said this weekend that Iran is looking more and more like a military dictatorship.
She made the announcement at the U.S. - Islamic World Forum in Qatar. Clinton said Iran's Revolutionary Guard has gained so much power that it's supplanting the government.
The secretary warned the Obama administration will not stand idly by while the Islamic Republic of Iran pursues a nuclear program. But Clinton added that the U.S is not planning an immediate military attack on Iran.
Clinton is in the Middle East trying to shore up international opposition to Iran's nuclear program. Her effort comes as two other high-profile visits by Israeli and U.S. leaders are highlighting the increasing danger of a nuclear Iran.
U.S. Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, joined his Israeli counterpart, Israeli General Gabi Ashkenazi for a visit to Tel Aviv, Israel. Mullen told reporters about his concerns about Iran's pursuit of a nuclear bomb.
"I have been very clear, and I think my presence has been very clear," Mullen said. "From a policy standpoint, Iran cannot have a nuclear weapon, nuclear capability. So I mean that's been pretty clear for a significant period of time."
However, Mullen added he is worried about the unintended consequences of a military strike against Iran. He feels confident the U.N. Security Council including China, will accept tougher sanctions on Iran. So far both China and Russia have been the biggest roadblocks to effective U.N. sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his cabinet that persuading Russia to accept "crippling sanctions" is one of his main goals on his three-day visit to Russia. He left Sunday for Moscow and plans to meet with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin. It is a crucial visit for the state of Israel.
"The stakes are very high for Israel in this visit," said Dan Diker of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. "Russia as one of key members of the the permanent five members of the U.N. Security Council can prevail upon Iran, on the regime in Iran to halt their nuclear weapons program if Russia really picks itself from its bootstraps and really decides that a no tolerance policy for Iranian nuclear weapons is what they are going to pursue."
A senior Israeli official told CBN News Netanyahu will also talk to Russian leaders about the delivery of the S-300 anti-aircraft system to Iran. T
he Kremlin announced it sees no reason why it shouldn't proceed with the delivery, but Israel knows this state-of-the-art system would make any possible military strike against Iran's nuclear sites much more difficult.