US: Military action on Iran 'not being contemplated'

(Gold9472: Unless there's an "attack" of some kind.)

Published: Wednesday August 15, 2007

The White House said Wednesday that it was not considering military action against Iran, as the United States planned to designate Tehran's elite Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group.

"Military action is not being contemplated," though no president should ever rule out the use of force, spokeswoman Dana Perino said as US President George W. Bush took a vacation from Washington on his Texas ranch.

"No president should ever take that option off the table, but diplomacy is what we are aiming towards and what we are working on in terms of the UN Security Council," Perino told reporters.

When Bush says, as he did last week, that Iran faces would have "a price to pay" if it aids insurgents in Iraq, "he's talking about diplomacy" and warning Tehran "of further isolation," the spokeswoman said.

She spoke as a US government official in Washington confirmed US plans to brand the Revolutionary Guard a "terrorist" group, a move aimed at disrupting the business network of the Islamic republic's elite military wing.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed reports in leading US newspapers Wednesday that the Bush administration was preparing to issue an executive order blacklisting the group in order to block its assets.

Perino declined to confirm the move, saying: "It would be inappropriate for me to comment on any possible actions that may or may not be taken."

Asked whether Washington was frustrated with the UN Security Council's failure to impose further sanctions on Iran, Perino replied: "I think that we all have known that this is gradual work, slow work."

"And we have been working with the P-5-plus-1 to make sure that Iran is held to account," she said, referring to the permanent council members Britain, China, France, and Russia plus Germany.

"We would like Iran to behave in a way that the rest of the world could embrace them. Unfortunately, for the people of Iran, they continue to defy the international community," she said.