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America's top military officer says that Iran's nuclear development presents the international community with 2 dangerous possibilities that nations must work together to avoid: a nuclear armed Iran, and a military strike against Iran.
Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaking at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said he believes the Iranian government has the "strategic intent to have nuclear weapons":
"And I think that would be incredibly destabilizing, not least of all because of the potential for an arms race in that [part of the] world, which is exactly what we don't need, as well as their continued support for terrorism, whether it's Hezbollah or Hamas or other terrorist groups that they are supporting."
On the other hand, said Admiral Mullen, a military strike would have a "very destabilizing outcome":
"And what I worry about ... quite frankly , are the unintended consequences of both those outcomes. ... That part of the world could become much more unstable, which is a dangerous global outcome ... for the world we're living in right now."
Admiral Mullen said the United States "has looked to do all we can to ensure that conflict doesn't break out there, while at the same time preparing forces, as we do for many contingencies that we understand might occur."
He stressed the need for diplomacy to prevent Iran from either acquiring nuclear weapons or from becoming the target of a military strike to thwart that result. That is why, said Admiral Mullen, "It is so important that we continue internationally, diplomatically, politically – not just we, the United States, but the international community – continue to focus on this to prevent those 2 outcomes."