Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen said in Washington today that he’s concerned about Iran’s role in Iraq. Adm. Mullen said Iran seems to be “ratcheting things up” in Iraq. He told a Defense Department news conference that it was “clear” that recently made Iranian weapons are flowing into Iraq at a steadily increasing rate. He also accused Iran of supporting insurgents during the recent fighting in Basra.
“It's not just weapons,” Mullen said of Iranian support. “They continue to train Iraqis in Iran to come back and fight Americans in the coalition,” he added. “I just don't see any evidence of them backing off. And Basra highlighted a lot of that.”
Mullen also said that US intelligence is seeing similar Iranian aid for militants and the Taliban in Afghanistan.
During a separate interview with Al Jazeera today, Adm. Mullen said the US would maintain a presence in the Persian Gulf in an attempt to deter Iran from taking any military action. Mullen was quick to say that he preferred "a peaceful outcome" and not to use military force.
“I think it's important to ratchet up the pressure as much as we can on Iran … internationally, financially, diplomatically … without taking the combat option off the table,” Mullen told Al Jazeera.