When? What pre-conditions? USA alone, or with allies? Preventable? Should we try to prevent it? Is there a China factor? Hillary Clinton: "I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president, we will attack Iran. In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them."- HILLARY CLINTON, responding to a question about a possible Iranian nuclear attack on Israel Barack Obama: Obama's mixed record on Iran By SAUL SINGER , Jerusalem Post Second and more importantly, what matters most for Israel right now is not a candidate's stance on foreign assistance or the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, or even more controversial issues such as settlements and targeted killings of terrorists. Much more significant is the candidate's position on the wider threat of radical Islamism and its potential nuclear epicenter, Iran. Here Obama's record is mixed. On the one hand, he has co-sponsored a bill to impose further sanctions on Iran, and has spoken out on the seriousness of the Iranian threat. On the other, while he supported the sanctions that the Administration eventually imposed on the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, he opposed the amendment that Hillary Clinton voted for because, "it tied our presence in Iraq to an effort to counter the Iranian threat, which he felt could 1) give a green light to premature military action against Iran, and 2) provide a rationale to keep our troops in Iraq, when of course, he believes we need to end our presence there," as his staff explained to me in an email. In other words, Obama placed the risk of a US military response to Iran and the risk of lengthening the US stay in Iraq as higher and more important than the risk that international sanctions will be too weak to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power. Such logic is warped and mistaken. It also reveals Obama's talk about sanctions and the need to stop Iran as lip service, rather than a serious, thought-through policy designed to succeed. It is all well and good to be for sanctions, but if this position melts away in the face of extremely tenuous excuses based on extraneous issues, than the "tough" position on Iran is meaningless. John McCain: Call for International Pressure on Syria and Iran John McCain believes Syria and Iran have aided and abetted the violence in Iraq for too long. Syria has refused to crack down on Iraqi insurgents and foreign terrorists operating from within its territory. Iran has aided the most extreme and violent Shia militias, providing them with training, weapons, and technology that they have used to kill American troops. The answer is not to enter into unconditional dialogues with these two dictatorships from a position of weakness. The answer is for the international community to apply real pressure to Syria and Iran to change their behavior. The United States must also bolster its regional military posture to make clear to Iran our determination to protect our forces in Iraq and to deter Iranian intervention in that country. US Military: U.S. Steps Up Anti-Iran Rhetoric [FONT=Times New Roman,Times,Serif]Tehran Is Accused Of Increasing Aid To Iraq Insurgents[/FONT] [FONT=times new roman,times,serif][FONT=times new roman,times,serif]By YOCHI J. DREAZEN April 26, 2008; Page A3[/FONT] [/FONT] WASHINGTON -- The nation's top military official said Iran's support for insurgents in Iraq is steadily increasing, and he warned Tehran that the U.S. military maintains the power to strike Iran if given the order. Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the U.S. has no plans to attack Iran and prefers diplomacy to resolve growing tensions with Tehran. He also acknowledged that a third conflict in the broader Mideast would be "extremely stressing" to the military. Adm. Michael Mullen says the U.S. has the capability to attack Iran. Still, Adm. Mullen said the Navy and Air Force have enough manpower, weapons and vehicles to strike Iran if told to by President Bush. "I have reserve capability," he said. "It would be a mistake to think that we are out of combat capability." The unusually strident remarks marked the latest escalation in U.S. rhetoric about Iran, which the Bush administration blames for hundreds of U.S. combat deaths in Iraq. The U.S. also has begun describing Iran as the largest threat to Iraq's long-term stability. In response, Mohammad Mir Ali Mohammadi, a spokesman for the Iranian mission to the United Nations in New York, accused the Bush administration of "demonizing" Iran. • The News: The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Iran's support for insurgents in Iraq is increasing and warned that the U.S. military has the capability to attack Iran if given the order. • Word Combat: The unusually strident remarks further escalated U.S. rhetoric about Iran, which the Bush administration blames for hundreds of U.S. combat deaths in Iraq. A spokesman for the Iranian mission to the United Nations responded by accusing the administration of "demonizing" Iran. • What's Next: U.S. officials in Baghdad plan to release information purporting to show that Iran is continuing to ship lethal weapons into Iraq despite Tehran's vows to the contrary. "Instead of scapegoating Iran for U.S.'s policy failures in Iraq, the U.S. government should address its wrong policies...and desist from deceiving its own public opinion," he said in a written statement. The exchanges came as U.S. officials in Baghdad prepared to release information purporting to show that Tehran is continuing to ship lethal weapons into Iraq despite Tehran's vows to the contrary. U.S. military officials had said privately in recent days that they had found caches of Iranian-made mortars, rockets and explosives bearing date stamps indicating the weapons had been made within the past two months, long after Tehran had promised to curb the flow of Iranian weaponry into Iraq. Adm. Mullen said the weapons were "recently not just found, but recently manufactured." He added that Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, would hold a briefing about the weapons caches within the next two weeks. A trio of senior military officials said the presentation could come as early as Monday. Mr. Mohammadi denied the new U.S. claims. "To suggest that Iran puts its labels and dates on weapons and then smuggles them to Iraq is ridiculously false," he said. In his public comments Friday, Adm. Mullen said Iran is steadily increasing its support for Shiite insurgents from across Iraq, bringing them into Iran for training and then funneling weapons, explosives and rockets to them in Iraq. He also accused Iran of providing the Taliban in Afghanistan with technology for both roadside bombs and explosively formed penetrators, which are capable of punching through virtually all U.S. armor. Similar assertions have been widely questioned by outside analysts who say they are skeptical that a Shiite country like Iran would ally itself with a Sunni terrorist group like the Taliban. Adm. Mullen said Iran is acting out of a desire to become a regional power. He argued that Tehran preferred to see a weak Iraq that could be "significantly influenced" by the decisions and activities of the Iranian government. The admiral said it is unclear what levels of the Iranian government knew about or were directing the flow of armaments into Iraq, though he said that he was "very hard-pressed to believe" that the leadership of Iran's Quds Force, an elite unit of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, was unaware of the shipments. "That said, I have no smoking gun which could prove that the highest leadership is involved in this," he said.