WASHINGTON - US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Thursday Iran was "making a lot of mistakes" but said any action to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons was a call for President George W. Bush and other leaders to make.
Rumsfeld was asked in an interview with Fox News television whether the United States could allow Iran to become another North Korea, which is believed to have nuclear weapons.
"The Iranians are making a lot of mistakes, let me just put it that way," Rumsfeld said.
Earlier, he said Bush has decided to work through the Europeans and the United Nations to put diplomatic pressure on Iran to give up nuclear program.
"And what one has to do at that stage is continue to put pressure on them, and it's up to the countries of the United Nations to decide what kind of steps they may or may not want to take," he said.
Asked what the odds were that the United States would have to confront Iran militarily, Rumsfeld said, "I guess those are calls for the president ... or for other leaders of other countries to make."
He noted that Iran had a large population of young people and women who were dissatisfied with Iran's clerical rule.
"That is not a stable situation," he said.
"My hope is that over time we will see a shift in that country, just as we saw a shift from the shah to the ayatollah. It happened almost overnight," he said.