[Marxism] Cheney: 'All Options' Available for Iran

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sat Feb 24 05:18:32 MST 2007


February 24, 2007
Cheney: 'All Options' Available for Iran
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Filed at 3:42 a.m. ET

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- Vice President Dick Cheney on Saturday
renewed Washington's warning to Iran that ''all options'' are on the
table if the country continues to defy U.N.-led efforts to end
Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

At a joint news conference with Prime Minister John Howard during a
visit to Australia, Cheney also said Washington was ''comfortable''
with Britain's decision to withdraw troops from Iraq and that it was
up to Australia to decide if it would do the same.

Cheney said the United States was ''deeply concerned'' about Iran's
activities, including the ''aggressive'' sponsoring of terrorist
group Hezbollah and inflammatory statements by President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad.

He said top U.S. officials would meet soon with European allies to
decide the next step toward planned tough sanctions against Iran if
it continues enriching uranium.

''We worked with the European community and the United Nations to put
together a set of policies to persuade the Iranians to give up their
aspirations and resolve the matter peacefully, and that is still our
preference,'' Cheney said.

''But I've also made the point, and the president has made the point,
that all options are on the table,'' he said, leaving open the
possibility of military action.

The International Atomic Energy Agency reported on Thursday that Iran
had not only ignored a U.N. Security Council ultimatum to freeze its
enrichment program, but had expanded the program by setting up
hundreds of centrifuges. Enriched uranium fuels nuclear reactors but,
enriched further, is used in nuclear bombs.

The IAEA report came after the expiration Wednesday of a 60-day grace
period for Iran to halt uranium enrichment.

Ahmadinejad said on Thursday it was of no importance if countries did
not believe Iran's nuclear activities were peaceful, and said the
country would resist ''all bullies.''

Howard said efforts to keep Iran in check would be hampered if the
United States and its allies lose the Iraq war.

''I can't think of a country whose influence and potential clout
would be more enhanced in that part of the world than Iran's could be
if there were to be a coalition defeat in Iraq,'' Howard said.

On Iraq, Cheney sidestepped a question about whether the White House
had asked the British government to redeploy troops into another part
of Iraq rather than withdraw them.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has outlined a plan to withdraw
about 1,600 troops from southern Iraq in the coming months, and to
reduce Britain's 7,100-strong contingent further by late summer.

''They are going to continue to have a major presence there. They are
also ... beefing up their operations in Afghanistan,'' Cheney said.
''So we are very comfortable with that decision.''

Britain said Friday it will increase its troop strength in
Afghanistan to bolster NATO forces battling Taliban militants, with
media reports saying 1,000 soldiers will join the more than 5,000
troops already there.

Cheney declined to say if he had asked Howard during talks held
Saturday to add to the 1,400 troops Australian has in and around
Iraq.

''It's not for us to stress to our allies what their appropriate
response might be,'' Cheney said, adding there would be no damage to
the U.S.-Australian military alliance if Australia did withdraw its
troops.

Cheney -- due to leave Australia on Sunday -- promised that an
Australian who has been detained without trial at the U.S. military
prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for more than five years was ''near
the head of the queue'' of possible military trials.

Howard said he had expressed Australia's concern at the length of
time it was taking to bring David Hicks, a former kangaroo skinner
who was captured in Afghanistan in 2001 on the Taliban side, to
trial.

''I can assure you we will be doing everything we can to deal with
these matters in as expeditious manner as possible,'' Cheney said.





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