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Military action against Iran on the table: US

August 02, 2010 09:51 IST

The United States has an Iran attack plan to prevent the Islamic nation from acquiring nuclear weapons, even as it is 'extremely concerned' about the possible repercussions of such a strike, a top US military commander said on Monday.

"Military actions have been on the table and remain on the table. I hope we don't get to that but it's an important option," Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in an interview.

"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 a nuclear enrichment programme that many believe is a clandestine bid to develop atomic arms.

"I am hopeful (it) works," he said. Mullen said even though Pentagon has such a plan, a final decision in this regard would be taken by US President, Barack Obama.

The threat of a nuclear Iran and an attack on the Islamic Republic to stop that nuclear programme "both have great downsides potentially," he noted.

"Certainly for our country, the President would be the one making those decisions and I wouldn't be one that would pick one or the other along those lines. I think they both have great downside potential," he said.

"I think the military actions have been on the table and remain on the table and certainly in that regard it's one of the options that the President has. I hope we don't get to that. But it's an important option. It's one that's well understood," Mullen said.

Lalit K Jha In Washington
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