The Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the United States, Admiral Michael Mullen, said a plan to attack Iran is ready to be executed if Iran produces a nuclear weapon, but is "extremely concerned" about the consequences an armed offensive of this nature can cause.
Military action against Iran could have "unintended consequences that are difficult to predict in a region as incredibly unstable," said Admiral Michael Mullen to an American TV station.
The Admiral also said, however, that the United States cannot allow Iran to have nuclear weapons, and emphasized that "To be very frank, it worries me that there are not a lot of options."
The chief of the U.S. military said he was "optimistic" about the efforts of the international community and the sanctions imposed on Iran, which should cause Tehran to abandon its uranium enrichment program.
Nevertheless, "the military options are on the table and remain on it. I hope you do not have to use them, but they are important and well known," he continued.
The revelation of the chief of U.S. armed forces came in a tone of Iran's negative response to the holding of three American so-called tourists arrested in Tehran for a year without charge or legal process.
Shane Bauer, 27 years, Sarah Shourd, 31, and Josh Fattal, 27, were arrested on July 31, 2009, on the border of Iran with Iraq. The families of three Americans said they were doing a hike in the mountains of northern Iraq. However, for the government of Iran, the three Americans arrested are suspected of espionage.
Before Admiral Michael Mullen held that a plan to attack Iran is ready, the U.S. president, Barack Obama, in a statement at the White House, asked the government in Tehran to free the three Americans 'immediately'.
Obama stressed that Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal "absolutely did not commit any crime, and after a whole year, were kept in prison, provoking an extraordinary concern and uncertainty, both of them as their families."
"I urge the Iranian government to immediately release the three American citizens, whose unjust imprisonment has nothing to do with the issues faced by the United States and the international community with the government of Iran," said the statement from the White House.
"I want to be clear: Sarah, Shane and Josh never worked for the U.S. government. They simply have an open mind and are adventurous young people, which represents the best of America and the human spirit," concluded the president Barack Obama in his statement.
The three Americans were out walking in Iraqi Kurdistan - an arid mountainous region on the border with Iran and were arrested for illegally entering Iranian territory.
Iran has rejected the request of President Barack Obama to release the three Americans. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran added that the court will follow its course.
The arrest of the three Americans further complicates the relationship between Tehran and Washington already under severe strain because of Iran's nuclear program. "The matter is purely judicial and will therefore continue within this scope," said the spokesman of the Foreign Ministry, Ramin Mehmanparast.
"Any attempt to influence the legal process through political pressure or the media will have no influence on the independent approach of the Iranian judiciary," said Melmanparast.
"The three U.S. citizens were arrested due to illegal entry into Iranian territory. Therefore, the violation is obvious, and they will answer before the law like any other individual," said the spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
A statement from the chief of U.S. armed forces did not cease to be a warning to the world and an explanation before international diplomacy that if Iran does not immediately give up its nuclear program ir will be attacked at any time.
ANTONIO CARLOS LACERDA
Pravda RU BRAZIL
Translated from the Portuguese version by: