News24

Iran: US must be ready for war

2009-12-21 21:26

Washington - Diplomacy offers the best way to resolve tensions over Iran's nuclear programme, but the Pentagon must be ready with military options if needed, the top US military chief said on Monday.

"No resolution is yet in sight, but I fully support the effort to focus on diplomatic solutions to existing tensions" with Iran, Admiral Mike Mullen wrote in a memorandum setting out strategic priorities for the US armed forces in 2010.

"My belief remains that political means are the best tools to attain regional security and that military force will have limited results," said Mullen, chair of the Joints Chiefs of Staff.

"However, should the president call for military options, we must have them ready."

The US and its allies suspect Iran is developing technology to enrich uranium to highly refined levels that would allow it to build a nuclear bomb, a charge Tehran vehemently denies, saying its nuclear programme serves peaceful purposes.

With a year-end deadline, President Barack Obama's administration has signalled that time is running out for Iran to seize its offer of diplomatic engagement for resolving nuclear and other issues.

Washington has raised the threat of a fourth round of UN sanctions, but will need to persuade Russia and China to drop their traditional reluctance to consider tougher measures.