The top American military commander said he would prefer not to go to war to stop Iran’s nuclear program.
Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in an Israeli television interview broadcast Sunday that while the Bush administration should keep open the option of attacking Iranian nuclear facilities, international diplomatic pressure on Tehran must be allowed to run its course.
“It will depend on what the president of the United States decides in the long run,” Mullen told Channel 10.
“I actually am very hopeful that we don’t get into a position where we have to get into a conflict. It would be a very significant challenge for the United States right now to get into a third conflict in that part of the world.
“I certainly share the concern about Iran and about the leadership,” he said, “and I think it is very important that we increase as much as possible the financial pressure, the diplomatic pressure, the political pressure and at the same time keep all the military options on the table.”
Mullen voiced sympathy for Israel’s fears of a nuclear-armed Iran, though he also said he has no doubt that the Jewish state, which is about to celebrate its 60th Independence Day, will be around for “6,000 years.”
The admiral said disclosures about a secret Syrian nuclear reactor that Israel bombed last September were “troubling” and “indicative of what can be done out of sight of people.”