US 'ready to counter Iran move'
Manama, December 20, 2010
Iran is trying to build a nuclear bomb, posing a threat to its neighbours, and the US is "ready" to counter Iran should it make a move, said a top US military officer.
Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, sought to reassure Gulf nations nervous that an increasingly militarised government in Iran might try to start a war.
"The US takes very seriously our security commitments in the Gulf region," Admiral Mullen said following a meeting with His Majesty King Hamad.
"We're very ready," Mullen said, an unusually direct acknowledgment that the US has contingency plans to counter Iran should it make a move. "There are real threats to peace and stability here, and we've made no secrets of our concerns about Iran."
In Iran, the new foreign minister - and current nuclear chief - said that he wants to build the country's relationship with Saudi Arabia and strengthen ties with Turkey, China and Russia. The latter two countries have veto power on the UN Security Council that could help Iran as it tries to fend off tougher sanctions.
Ali Akbar Salehi, who heads the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran, replaced longtime foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki.
"From my perspective I see Iran continuing on this path to develop nuclear weapons, and I believe that that development and achieving that goal would be very destabilising to the region," Mullen said. He gave no specifics about US plans or defences.-TradeArabia News Service