Reuters: By deploying a second aircraft carrier to the Gulf the United States has sent a “strong signal” that it is in the region to stay and working with allies to deal with an Iranian threat, Vice President Dick Cheney said. WASHINGTON (Reuters) – By deploying a second aircraft carrier to the Gulf the United States has sent a “strong signal” that it is in the region to stay and working with allies to deal with an Iranian threat, Vice President Dick Cheney said.
He repeated the Bush administration’s stance that the United States seeks to resolve the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program through diplomatic means, but that all options are on the table.
“I think most of the nations in that part of the world believe their security is supported, if you will, by the United States. They want us to have a major presence there,” Cheney said in an interview with Newsweek magazine, according to a transcript released by the White House on Sunday.
“When we — as the president did, for example, recently — deploy another aircraft carrier task force to the Gulf, that sends a very strong signal to everybody in the region that the United States is here to stay, that we clearly have significant capabilities, and that we are working with friends and allies as well as the international organizations to deal with the Iranian threat,” Cheney said.
The United States suspects Iran’s nuclear program is a cover for developing weapons and pressed the U.N. Security Council to impose sanctions against Tehran in December.
Iran recently issued conflicting signals on its nuclear program, with an Iranian nuclear official this weekend denying a statement by a parliamentarian that the country had begun installing 3,000 new atomic centrifuges for uranium enrichment.
The United States has also accused Iran of fueling instability in Iraq, and President George W. Bush on Friday warned Iranians that they would be stopped if they attacked U.S. or Iraqi forces inside Iraq.
Cheney, asked whether he could see a scenario in which there were air strikes on Iran, replied: “I’m not going to speculate about … security action.”
The United States was “doing what we can to try to resolve issues such as the nuclear question diplomatically through the United Nations, but we’ve also made it clear that we haven’t taken any options off the table,” he said.