WASHINGTON, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- Although diplomacy and politics offer better ways to solve the Iranian nuclear issue, the use of military force must remain an option, the top U.S. military officer said on Monday.
While saying he will "fully support the effort to focus on diplomatic solutions to existing tensions" on the issue, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen said in a memo that the United States must have the military option on the table.
At another point, he conceded that "political means are the best tools to attain regional security and that military force will have limited results."
"However, should the president call for military options, we must have them ready," he added.
In the six-page memo laying out his objectives for 2010, Mullen also hints at the challenge presented by the 18-month window before U.S. troops will start to withdraw from Afghanistan.
"Our main effort now must be to push forces into the theater as quickly as possible -- including shifting the balance of enablers from Iraq," he said.
Mullen also expressed his concern that the U.S. military force won't be ready for a different kind of war other than the fights in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will end, and we must think today about how the U.S. military will need to adapt to future threats," he added.
The United States, its European allies and Israel claim that Iran's nuclear program is aimed at developing nuclear weapons, while the UN Security Council also requires Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment activity.
However, Iran insists that its nuclear plan is only for peaceful purposes, and continues its uranium enrichment activity despite the pressure from Western countries and relevant resolutions and sanctions of the United Nations.
Iranian troops withdraw from disputed oil well
BAGHDAD, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) -- Iranian troops withdrew from the disputed oil well on the border between Iraq and Iran, a senior official in Maysan province said on Sunday.
"The Iranian troops have withdrawn late overnight from the oil well No. 4 of the Fakkah oilfield and have lowered their flag, while the Iraqi troops returned to the well and raised the Iraqi flag," Maytham Lafta, head of the defense and security committee of Maysan provincial council said. Full story
Iran rejects reports of Iraqi oil well seizure as attempt to harmties
TEHRAN, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- Iran on Saturday rejected the reports that an Iraqi oil well was taken over by Iranian armed forces as an attempt to harm the relations between the two neighboring countries, the official IRNA news agency reported.
"Foreign media made unfounded allegation ... and attempted to disrupt friendly relations between Iran and Iraq by propaganda campaign," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast was quoted as saying. Full story
Iraq says Iranian troops seize oil well near border
BAGHDAD, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- Iraq said the Iranian forces had crossed into Iraq and seized an oil well, confirming that the Iraqi government is diplomatically moving to contain the tension between the two countries, the state-run newspaper of al-Sabah reported Saturday.
According to the report, the Iraqi Security Council on Friday held an emergency meeting to discuss the Iranian troops' seizure of Iraqi oil well No. 4 from the al-Fakkah oilfield in Maysan province, 370 km southeast of Baghdad. Full story
Iran test-fires advanced home-made missile: TV
TEHRAN, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- Iran successfully test-fired optimized version of home-made Sejil 2 missile, local English-language Press TV reported Wednesday.
Test of the solid-fuel Sejil 2 deterrent missile is part of Iran's long-term plans to defend the country's borders, Press TV said. Full story
U.S. unsatisfied with Iranian nuclear proposal: report
WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- The United States is unsatisfied with Iran's offer to exchange low-grade enriched uranium for 20 percent enriched uranium on its southern island of Kish, saying it is "inconsistent" with a UN draft plan, according to local media on Saturday.
A senior U.S. official said in condition of anonymity that the Iranian offer "does not appear to be consistent" with a draft agreement proposed by the UN nuclear watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Full story
Iran ready to exchange nuclear fuel on southern Kish island: FM
TEHRAN, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Saturday that Iran is ready to exchange low-grade enriched uranium for 20 percent enriched uranium on its southern island of Kish, local Press TV reported.
"We are prepared to take 400 kg of 3.5 percent enriched uranium to the island of Kish and exchange it with an amount equivalent to 20 percent of the original batch," Mottaki was quoted as saying in an address to a security conference in Bahrain. Full story
Iran successfully test-fires multiple-range missiles
TEHRAN, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) successfully test-fired on Monday its home-made multiple-range missiles ahead of a meeting with five permanent UN Security Council member nations plus Germany next week.
The local English language satellite Press TV reported that the test-fired Sejil has a range of 2,000 kilometers and that of Shahab-3 is between 1,300 and 2,000 kilometers. Full story
Western countries warn of more sanctions against Iran
UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- The United States, France and Britain warned Iran on Thursday that more sanctions are inevitable if Tehran continues to defy United Nations demands.
"Should Iran continue to fail to meet its obligations, the international community will have to consider further actions," said U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice, who later told reporters that she meant tougher sanctions. Full story
Iran to target Israel's military sites if attacked: defense minister
TEHRAN, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi said Wednesday that Iran will target Israel's military sites, including its nuclear establishments, if attacked, the state-run IRNA news agency reported.
Iran will give a crushing response to any threats posed by the "Zionist" (Israeli) forces, Vahidi told reporters upon his arrival in Damascus. Full story