U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates in Brussels on January 15 (NATO)
February 2, 2007 -- U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in Washington on February 2 that the United States is not planning for a war with Iran but is determined to stop Iranians supplying bombs for deadly attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq.
The Bush administration has stepped up its rhetoric against Iran in recent weeks, and has said it will send a second aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf.
Gates told reporters on February 2 at a Pentagon briefing in Washington that "The purpose of [sending a second aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf] is simply to underscore to our friends, as well as to our potential adversaries in the region, that the United States has considered the Persian Gulf and that whole area -- and stability in that area -- to be a vital American national interest."
He continued: "And that has been the case for decades, under many, many presidents. And we simply want to reinforce to our friends, in particular, that they can count on us having a presence and being strong in their area in protecting our interests and in protecting theirs."
(compiled from agency reports)