Israel, the U.S. and the Arab World
August 1, 2010
The United States military has a plan to attack Iran in order to prevent the country from developing a nuclear weapon, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff revealed Sunday.
Adm. Mike Mullen, the top-ranking U.S. military officer, said a military strike would have severe downsides -- but so would a nuclear-armed Iran. He described the challenge as a choice between two very bad options.
"I am extremely concerned about both of those outcomes," he said.But Mullen, speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press," said the military option is an important one. He said it's a decision that's up to the president to make.
"The military options have been on the table and remain on the table," he said. "It's one of the options that the president has. ... I hope we don't get to that, but it's an important option and it's one that's well understood."Asked whether the U.S. military has an attack plan, Mullen said:
"We do."He did not elaborate.
Mullen, who addressed the topic in the wake of new sanctions against Iran being imposed by the United States, European Union and United Nations, said there is a narrow space between those two options. He said that space involves sanctions, diplomacy and international pressure and that he remains "hopeful" the combination will yield positive results.
"It's those unintended consequences that are difficult to predict in what is an incredibly unstable part of the world," Mullen said.Watch the Meet the Press clip
August 1, 2010
The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff says the US military has a plan to attack Iran, although he thinks a strike is probably a bad idea.
Admiral Mike Mullen, however, said he was 'extremely concerned about the possible repercussions of such a strike' reported the AFP.
Mullen, America's highest-ranking military officer, underlined that military action against Iran could have "unintended consequences that are difficult to predict in what is an incredibly unstable part of the world."
Nevertheless, speaking on Sunday's 'Meet the Press' program on NBC, Mullen said allowing Iran to develop a nuclear weapon was also unacceptable.
"Quite frankly, I am extremely concerned about both of those outcomes." he said.Mullen held out hope that a combination of international diplomatic efforts and sanctions against Iran would lead Tehran to suspend its uranium enrichment program.
"I am hopeful (it) works." he said.He did not elaborate.
At the same time, though, he said, "the military options have been on the table, and remain on the table."
"I hope we don't get to that, but it's an important option and it's one that's well understood," he added.
Asked if the military has a plan to strike Iran, Mullen replied, "We do."
The West, including the US, accuses Iran of seeking atomic arms under the guise of a civilian nuclear program.
However, numerous reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verify that Tehran's nuclear work is merely geared to peaceful ends.
August 1, 2010
The US military has a plan to attack Iran, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff said Sunday, although he added that he thinks a strike is probably a bad idea.
Adm. Mike Mullen, the highest-ranking US military officer, has often warned that a military strike on Iran would have serious and unpredictable ripple effects around the Middle East. At the same time, he said the risk of Iran developing a nuclear weapon was unacceptable.
Mullen would not say which risk he thought was worse. But he told NBC television program "Meet The Press" that a military strike remains an option if need be.
He added that, should it come to that, the military has a plan at hand. He didn't elaborate further.
Mullen said very directly in his February visit to Israel that he opposed Iran's acquisition of a nuclear capability. However, he also warned Israel tellingly of the “unintended consequences” of a military strike. During a press conference at the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, Mullen said:
“From a policy standpoint, Iran cannot have a nuclear weapon, [or] nuclear capability.”
He added, “I’ve also been clear, them getting a weapon and/or the outbreak of a conflict would be a big, big problem for all of us. And I worry a great deal about the unintended consequences of a strike, that are pretty hard to be specific about in a pretty volatile region that’s pretty hard to predict.”