The United States is capable of carrying out a military strike on Iran, according to U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey.
- U.S. Military Chief: Unclear if Israel Would Alert U.S. Ahead of Attack on Iran
- Obama: Iran Won't Be Allowed to Develop Nuclear Weapons
In an interview with CNN, Dempsey stated that a military option would be "executable if necessary", but warned that the United States should not miscalculate its resolve, which may draw the country into a prolonged conflict, a possibility he believes would be a tragedy for the region and the world.
During the interview, Dempsey reiterated the United States long-standing position, stating that the Obama administration is examining a range of options on the possibility of a nuclear Iran.
Dempsey also addressed the recent interception of a U.S. drone in Iranian territory, candidly stating that the loss of the drone would not put an end to U.S. efforts to discover what is happening in Iran, adding that it would be rather imprudent of the government not to try to understand what an adversary of the United States is doing.
Dempsey also told CNN that there would be no guarantee that Israel would give the United States a warning should it decide to attack Iran. However, he claimed that America recognizes Israels concerns and is collaborating with it in order to establish some confidence on the part of the Israelis.
Dempsey's comments come a day after U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said that Iran will have a nuclear weapon within one year, if not less.
Speaking in an interview with CBS Evening News, Leon Panetta said that it would probably take a year for Tehran to assemble a nuclear bomb, but said that one provision is if the Iranians have a hidden facility that "may be enriching fuel."
Panetta said Israel's concern for a nuclear Iran is a "common concern" of the U.S., and that Washington would not rule out a military attack.
"The United States does not want Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. That's a red line for us and that's a red line, obviously, for the Israelis," he told CBS.
"If they (Iran) proceed and we get intelligence that they are proceeding with developing a nuclear weapon then we will take whatever steps necessary to stop it."
When asked by CBS whether the U.S. would consider taking military steps, Panetta said, "There are no options off the table," and added that a nuclear Iran is "unacceptable".
According to CBS, Panetta added that, while the Iranians need a year or less to assemble a weapon, he has no indication yet as to whether they have decided to pursue that path.