Iran strike 'never off the table'

Pentagon official emphasizes 'engagement and pressure' as US focus.

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April 22, 2010 08:14
1 minute read.
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Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell stressed Wednesday that "military action [against Iran] has never, ever been taken off the table." This comes in response to comments by a senior US defense official in Singapore who said military action is “off the table in the near term," Reuters reported.

“Clearly, our preference and focus and our energy is all being dedicated right now to engagement and the pressure tracks,” Morrell said. “The engagement track, despite the fact that it has not been reciprocated yet, is still alive. That door remains open. However, we clearly are more aggressively pursuing the pressure track, trying to get meaningful sanctions out of the United Nations.”

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“That said,” Morrell continued in the interview with Reuters, “the commander in chief has all weapons, all possibilities, all options at his disposal, including military means.” However, Morrell warned, “there are clearly disadvantages to going down that route.”

Morrell specifically addressed the quotes attributed Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy earlier on Wednesday: “She emphasized that our focus right now is on the combination of engagement and pressure in the form of sanctions. Military force, she said, is an option of last resort. I don't think that's anything new.”

“It is clearly not our preference to go to war with Iran. Nobody wishes to do that, but she also makes it clear it's not off the table,” Morrell stressed to Reuters.

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