US emergency regarding Iran extended


The White House has issued an executive order to formally extend the US national emergency regarding Iran's threat for another year.


"Because the actions and policies of the government of Iran continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy and economy of the United States," the emergency must continue, stated the order issued on Wednesday.


The move came amid a widely-believed speculation that the abrupt departure of Adm. William Fallon, the top commander in the Middle East signals a shift in Bush administration policy towards Tehran.


A recent Esquire magazine profile described Fallon, 63, as "The Man Between War and Peace" and the lone voice opposed to a strike against Tehran.


Pointing out implicitly to Fallon's delivered messages of discontent or disagreement with the administration through the media, the White House Spokeswoman Dana Perino said on Wednesday "when it comes to foreign policy, it's critical that an administration speak with one voice."


However, in a struggle to avert the eyes, the Pentagon and the White House sought to pretend the Bush administration's policy towards Tehran has not changed 'with one voice.'


"US policy toward Iran remains unchanged," said Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the National Security Council at the White House on Wednesday.


"The president is seeking a diplomatic solution to Iran's refusal to comply with international demands that it suspend its nuclear enrichment," he added.


Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said President Bush believes "a diplomatic solution to the Iran issue is possible if the world stays strong and reacts in a unified way."


Both Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who have repeatedly made statements calling for diplomacy rather than direct conflict with Iran rushed to join the club and reject any policy change towards Iran.


But Vice President Dick Cheney who prepares for a trip to the Middle East couldn't help to follow the-one-voice-policy and termed Iran as"

a danger every one of us must take seriously."


"Tehran continues to develop technologies that could lead to its building an ICBM capable of striking the United States, perhaps as soon as late in the next decade," said Cheney on Wednesday.