Top general says US not ‘on the road to war’ with Iran

WASHINGTON — The United States is not seeking conflict with Iran, the general overseeing America’s military involvement in the Middle East says Thursday, even as some Trump administration officials have stepped up rhetoric against Tehran.

“I don’t think we’re seeking to go to war with Iran, and I don’t think that’s what we’re focused on,” General Joseph Votel, who heads the US Central Command, tells Pentagon reporters.

Votel has not been given any “direct military tasks” in terms of the pressure campaign being waged by the Trump administration, but he says the Pentagon remains “prepared to respond rapidly massively if the situation requires.”

Trump has been clear the Iranian regime needs to “cease its destabilizing behavior and policy that spreads violence and human misery throughout the Middle East,” Votel says.

“The principle way that we are approaching that right now is through diplomatic and economic pressure. And I support that, I don’t see that necessarily as being on the road to war with Iran.”


US Army General Joseph Votel, head of US Central Command, testifies during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, February 27, 2018. (AFP /Saul Loeb)

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