The Bush administration is firmly against launching an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities before the president leaves office and has warned Israel not to strike Iran on its own.
Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Mike McConnell, director of national intelligence, both traveled to Israel in June to tell Israeli officials the U.S. believes an attack on Iran is not yet necessary.
The Americans also told Israeli officials that the U.S. would oppose overflights of Iraqi airspace by Israeli aircraft to attack Iran, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius disclosed on Sunday.
The administration’s announcement that it will open an interest section in Tehran later this month — the first American diplomatic mission in Iran since the seizure of the U.S. embassy there in 1979 — is a strong indication that the U.S. will continue to pursue a diplomatic effort to halt nuclear weapons development in Iran.
According to Ignatius, the U.S. opposes an Israeli strike on Iran for several reasons:the attack would slow Iran’s nuclear program but not destroy it.A strike would rally Iranians’ support for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s unpopular government, which faces a difficult election next year.An attack would undermine American policy in Iraq.As with any military action, a strike against Iran would have unpredictable consequences.
“Everyone from this White House, including the vice president’s office, is in agreement that the military action is not the best option at this point, and we should pursue diplomatic and economic pressures,” an American official told Ignatius.
But the columnist added that if the diplomatic track does not work, “and there are no signs yet that Tehran is willing to bend, all the deadly options will remain on the table.”
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