White House: Iran Is at a Crossroads Over Its Nuclear Program

Iran is at a crossroads and has "decisions to make" over its pursuit of nuclear technology, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday.

Gibbs was responding to concerns about the disclosure last week of a secret Iranian nuclear facility — ahead of a highly anticipated meeting that will address Iran's nuclear program.

Gibbs said the Obama administration is demanding "immediate and unfettered" access to that facility.

"This is an important day and an important week for the Iranians. They have decisions to make," Gibbs said. "They have one of two paths they can take."

Representatives from Iran are expected to meet Thursday with representatives from Germany and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, including the United States. Gibbs said Iran can continue down the defiant path it is on or try to earn the confidence of the international community.

He said that allowing full access to the nuclear site disclosed last week would help the nation "engage in full transparency" and give assurances that it will pursue only peaceful nuclear energy.
Gibbs, however, downplayed the significance of a series of missile tests out of Iran, calling them "pre-planned military exercises."

Iran tested its most advanced missiles Monday to cap two days of war games, raising more international concern and stronger pressure to quickly come clean on the newly revealed nuclear site Tehran was secretly constructing.

State television said the powerful Revolutionary Guard, which controls Iran's missile program, successfully tested upgraded versions of the medium-range Shahab-3 and Sajjil missiles. Both can carry warheads and reach up to 1,200 miles, putting Israel, U.S. military bases in the Middle East, and parts of Europe within striking distance.

The missile tests were meant to flex Iran's military might and show readiness for any military threat.

"Iranian missiles are able to target any place that threatens Iran," said Abdollah Araqi, a top Revolutionary Guard commander, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.

Iran conducted three rounds of missile tests in drills that began Sunday, two days after the U.S. and its allies disclosed the country had been secretly developing an underground uranium enrichment facility. The Western powers warned Iran it must open the site to international inspection or face harsher international sanctions.

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hasan Qashqavi said the missile tests had nothing to do with the tension over the site, saying it was part of routine, long-planned military exercises.

But European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana said he was concerned about the missile tests. He said Iran must immediately resolve issues surrounding its second nuclear enrichment facility with the U.N.'s nuclear agency.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.