LONDON (AFP) — The United States is not about to launch pre-emptive strikes against Iran despite increasingly tense rhetoric between Washington and Tehran, the head of US Central Command was quoted as saying Monday.
Admiral William Fallon did not rule out strikes at some point, but said such military action was not "in the offing."
"None of this is helped by the continuing stories that just keep going around and around and around that any day now there will be another war, which is just not where we want to go," he told the Financial Times.
"Getting Iranian behaviour to change and finding ways to get them to come to their senses and do that is the real objective.
"Attacking them as a means to get to that spot strikes me as being not the first choice in my book."
He said the job of Central Command, which runs US military operations in the Middle East, was not helped by verbal sabre-rattling.
"Generally, the bellicose comments are not particularly helpful," he said, but added: "That said, we have to make sure that there is no mistake here on the part of the Iranians about our resolve in tending to business in the region."
"There has got to be some combination of strength and willingness to engage. How to come up with the right combination of that is the real trick."
The United States and several of its European allies believe Iran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon, a charge Tehran has repeatedly denied.
Key members of the United Nations Security Council are seeking to increase pressure on Iran to convince it to stop enriching uranium, which can be used to generate energy but also to make an atomic bomb.
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