By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
April 30, 2008 - Diplomacy remains the best course for dealing with Iran, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell emphasized here today. Morrell called news reports claiming the Defense Department is conducting new planning for wartime operations against Iran patently wrong.
"Let me make this abundantly clear," he told reporters traveling here with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. "There are no new directives, no new plans in the works, no efforts to plan for a possible war with Iran."
Morrell said contingency planning is continually ongoing regarding all threats or potential threats, but said none regarding Iran indicate anything out of the ordinary.
The U.S. focus remains on diplomatic and economic pressure to get the Iranian regime to stop interfering in Iraq and the region as a whole, Morrell said. He reiterated Gates' and Joint Chiefs Chairman Navy Adm. Mike Mullen's assertions, however, that no option is being taken off the table, "including the military option."
Morrell said recent signs of Iranian meddling in Iraq, including the discovery of Iraqi-made munitions with 2008 date stamps, prove Iran is not making good on its promise to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to stay out of Iraq's affairs.
The United States has "long recognized Iran as a real problem in Iraq," he said.
Morrell said there's no concrete evidence that Iran has increased its activity in Iraq, "although we certainly see evidence that it continues."