Wednesday, July 27, 2011

US general warns Iran on nuclear issue

US Army General Martin Dempsey appears at his confirmation hearing for Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington on July 26, 2011.

Source: Press TV

US President Barack Obama's pick to become the top US military officer says Iran will make a "serious miscalculation" should it pursue nuclear activities or sponsor attacks in Iraq.

"With its nuclear activities and its surrogate activities in southern Iraq, there is a high potential that Iran will make a serious miscalculation of US resolve," said General Martin Dempsey in a prepared testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.

Dempsey, now the US Army's chief of staff, called Iran a "destabilizing force" and stated that Tehran intended to "send a message that they have expelled us from Iraq," AFP reported.

"As long as we've got those soldiers there, we're going to do whatever we have to do to protect them, and I want to make sure that's clear to everyone," he said.

The United States is scheduled to withdraw all of its remaining 47,000 troops from Iraq by the end of this year, under the terms of a bilateral security pact.

The US-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement was approved by the Iraqi government on December 4, 2008. SOFA established that US combat forces would withdraw from Iraqi cities by June 30, 2009, and that all US forces would be completely out of Iraq by December 31, 2011.

The US general's remarks came as Iran regards the US military's presence in the Persian Gulf region and in Iraq and Afghanistan as the main factor behind regional insecurity and instability.

Iran insists that as a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, it has a right to use the peaceful applications of nuclear energy for electricity generation and medical research.

In addition, the IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence indicating that Iran's civilian nuclear program has been diverted towards military purposes.

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