U.S. has removed military option, Iranian leader says

The supreme leader's remarks were seen as a response to President Obama's West Point speech.
By Ed Adamczyk Follow @adamczyk_ed Contact the Author   |   June 4, 2014 at 2:42 PM
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TEHRAN , June 4 (UPI) -- Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei proclaimed Wednesday the Obama administration has removed a U.S. military option against Iran from consideration.

The ayatollah spoke before tens of thousands at a Tehran rally honoring the 25th anniversary of the death of his predecessor, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, and on a dais decorated with a banner reading "America cannot do a damn thing." He responded to President Barack Obama's speech last week at West Point, N.Y., in which Obama said the United States has ways, other than military force, to conduct foreign policy.

"A military attack is not a priority for Americans now. They have renounced the idea of any military actions," the ayatollah said. He had said in the past the U.S. was eager but incapable of attacking Iran, but his comments -- essentially a reaction to Obama's West Point speech -- suggest he is confident Iran should not anticipate U.S. military action.

Other events suggest U.S. military involvement is taking a lower profile to diplomatic efforts. On Saturday, the White House announced the trade of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl -- the only U.S. war prisoner in Afghanistan -- for five Taliban prisoners, following negotiations with the Taliban.

Iran is presently negotiating with world powers who seek guarantees of a peaceful Iranian nuclear program. Obama has repeatedly noted a military option remains available, should talks fail.

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