Mullen in Israel: Option open to attack Iran

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The option to attack Iran "is still on the table," the U.S. chairman of the joint chiefs of staff said.

Adm. Michael Mullen said during a news conference Sunday that he is concerned about Iran’s use of rhetoric coupled with its uranium enrichment program.

“Conflict with Iran would be a big problem for everyone," he said. "I worry about the unintended consequences of an attack. While every situation has limits, we’re not there yet. The diplomatic efforts must be exhausted until the end.”

Mullen’s visit was set to focus on cooperation between the U.S. and Israeli militaries and security challenges, especially Iran’s nuclear program, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

Mullen stressed the real cooperation between Israel and the United States.

“This important relationship with Israel grows stronger every day,” he said. “We are close partners, since the establishment of the state. I am aware of the needs of Israel in every step. I’m here to understand the perspective of those who live here. I worry about the stability and the possibility for instability in the region. We will operate all our forces to have a stable and secure Israel.”

During his three-day visit, Mullen is scheduled to meet with Israeli military Chief of the General Staff, Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, as well as to have a briefing with senior commanders.

Mullen will visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and Museum, where he will pay respect to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust. At his request, Mullen will meet with members of the IDF rescue delegation to Haiti, and hear about their professional experiences with regard to rescue operations and field medical treatment, according to the IDF.

Mullen’s visit follows a visit last month by U.S. National Security Adviser James Jones and a leaked secret visit two weeks ago by Central Intelligence Agency director Leon Panetta.
 

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