AFP: The top US military chief Admiral Michael Mullen Tuesday refused to rule out the military option over the Iran nuclear crisis, but stressed the importance of diplomacy in resolving the standoff. WASHINGTON (AFP) The top US military chief Admiral Michael Mullen Tuesday refused to rule out the military option over the Iran nuclear crisis, but stressed the importance of diplomacy in resolving the standoff.
“I would never take the military option off the table,” Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at a briefing on US national security.
But he stressed that “doesn’t mean it would be used” adding “diplomacy is very important.”
Iran has refused to yield in its main sticking point in its standoff with the West — its steadfast refusal to suspend uranium enrichment, a key phase of the nuclear fuel cycle.
The UN Security Council has called on Iran three times to suspend enrichment and imposed two sets of sanctions for its defiance, but the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has refused to budge.
“I worry about Iran because of the rhetoric, because of the development of the nuclear world, because of the support for the insurgents in Iraq,” Mullen said at the briefing.
Washington has repeatedly accused Tehran of supporting insurgents in Iraq and Mullen said Tuesday that it was too soon to know whether a drop in violence there “can be attributed to the fact that the Iranians are no longer supporting these high tech weapons going to Iraq.”
Ahmadinejad has repeatedly brushed off the threat of US military action and argued that his security forces are ready to deal a crushing blow to any attacker.