On NBC’s Today Show this morning, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said that President Obama has ordered him to update the plans for a US attack on Iran, plans which were last updating during the Bush Administration. Gates says the plans are “refreshed” and insists that “all options are on the table” with respect to the potential attack.
It was only a month ago that Secretary Gates was warning vigorously against the potential attack, saying that it would create a “disastrous backlash” against the United States to hit Iran’s civilian nuclear facilities. The Obama Administration has insisted it is intending to pursue the matter diplomatically with Iran, but Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has repeatedly said the administration doesn’t expect diplomacy to work, and the effort seems to be primarily to rally international support for more measures against Iran.
The US has also been sending secret missions to Israel in recent days, reportedly to caution them against launching any surprise military attacks against Iran of their own. It was unclear how successful the warnings were: Prime Minister Netanyahu said he remained confident that the US would respect Israel’s right to attack Iran.
It is unclear whether Gates’ revelation portends a serious potential for an imminent US attack on Iran, or whether the move is more international posturing. Still, it seems unlikely the news will be greeted warmly in Iran, which is in the middle of an election campaign in which potential US talks are a major issue.