AP: The American military is capable of attacking Iran but has no plans to do so, a U.S. general said Friday in the latest U.S. rejection of military action. Associated Press
By TARIQ PANJA
Associated Press Writer
LONDON (AP) – The American military is capable of attacking Iran but has no plans to do so, a U.S. general said Friday in the latest U.S. rejection of military action.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Brig. Gen. Robert H. Holmes, deputy director of operations for the U.S. Central Command, said despite the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military would be able to simultaneously fight Iran.
“I would offer that we are always ready, always prepared,” he said at the U.S. Embassy in London. “Does that mean we are then focused, loaded and cocked to do a certain thing?” he asked. “The answer is no.”
Tensions have risen over Washington’s accusations that Tehran is providing deadly weapons and training to militants attacking U.S. forces in Iraq, a claim Iran denies. President Bush has said the U.S. military would aggressively pursue Iranian agents who stir up trouble in Iraq.
“The presence of certain weapons, certain technology, certain tactics and techniques points us to elements of the Iranian military, but I would be remiss if I then connected dots any greater than that,” Holmes said.
This equipment is “killing our troops … killing Iraqis, and we intend to stop the flow of this external influence,” Holmes said.
Still, the general said he believes that military action against Iran would not be the best course of action.
“You’ve got be careful as you begin to piece this together,” he said, adding that Adm. William J. Fallon, commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, “does not view military action with Iran as a desired military activity right now.”
Leaders of Arab nations around the Gulf have grown increasingly uneasy with the tough U.S. stance toward Iran, believing any outbreak of war would bring attacks on their own soil. But none has shown interest in an alliance with Iran.
“The last resort is conflict or war” with Iran, Holmes said.
“If we could pursue through means of policy and our political leadership to avert conflict or to deter or deny certain weapons or tools of violence to enter a battle space, then diplomacy or policy would be a preferred method,” Holmes said.