U.S. credibility on Iran at stake in Syria decision: Hagel says

A Free Syrian Army fighter takes cover as he watches forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad near Hanano Barracks in Aleppo, September 3, 2013. REUTERS/Hamid Khatib

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A failure to take action over Syria's use of chemical weapons would damage the credibility America's pledge to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told Congress on Tuesday.

"A refusal to act would undermine the credibility of America's other security commitments - including the president's commitment to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon," Hagel told a Senate hearing, according to prepared remarks.

"The word of the United States must mean something."

(Reporting by Phil Stewart)