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Option of striking Iran never off the table: Pentagon

A worker watches visitors during the inauguration of the Fuel Manufacturing plant at the Isfahan Uranium Conversion Facility 440 kilometres (274 miles) south of Tehran April 9, 2009. REUTERS/Caren Firouz

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. military action against Iran remains an option even as the United States pursues diplomacy and sanctions to halt the country’s nuclear program, the Pentagon said on Wednesday.

“We are not taking any options off the table as we pursue the pressure and engagement tracks,” Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said. “The president always has at his disposal a full array of options, including use of the military ... It is clearly not our preferred course of action but it has never been, nor is it now, off the table.”

Morrell was responding to questions about comments by Michele Flournoy, U.S. under secretary of defense for policy, in Singapore.

“The military option is an option of last resort. It is not a preferred option,” Flournoy told reporters. “It is not on the table in the near term.”

Reporting by Adam Entous, Editing by Sandra Maler