Sarah Baxter in Washington
America's top military officer has ratcheted up the pressure on Iran by issuing an unusual public warning that the Pentagon is planning for “potential military courses of action”. Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, blamed the Iranian government and Quds force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard for its “increasingly lethal and malign influence” in Iraq. He said conflict with Iran would be “extremely stressing” for America’s overstretched forces, but added: “It would be a mistake to think that we are out of combat capability.”

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