Joint Chiefs of Staff: ‘All Options on the Table’ With Iran


mike-mullenJoint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen said yesterday that all options for dealing with Iran are on the table, including a military one. Speaking at Columbia University, the admiral noted that Iran has been a focus for years and stressed that the U.S. response has been multi-faceted.

“All options remain on the table,” he said. “We plan for contingencies all the time.”

The New York Times reported yesterday that a January memo from Defense Secretary Robert Gates to the White House warned that the United States lacked a nimble long-term plan to deal with Iran’s nuclear program.

But Mullen said the U.S. was working on various fronts regarding Iran.

“The diplomatic, the engagement piece, the sanctions piece, all those things, from my perspective, need to be addressed,” he said.

Mullen is President Barack Obama’s chief military adviser. He spoke to about 300 students, alumni and others as part of Columbia’s World Leaders Forum.

He also reiterated his position that the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy on gay service members should be changed because it forces them to lie.

University President Lee Bollinger said that ending the policy would remove a major stumbling block to welcoming the Reserve Officer Training Corps back to the Columbia campus.

The ROTC was banned from the campus in 1969 in the wake of the Vietnam War and student protests. Bollinger has said that current resistance to having an on-campus ROTC program stems mostly from opposition to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and from adherence to the school’s anti-discrimination guidelines.

{Daily Freeman/Noam Newscenter}