Vice President Dick Cheney made the symbolic move of delivering a warning to Iran while aboard a nearby U.S. aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf. Cheney said the U.S. would use military force if necessary to prevent Iran from interfering with oil trade or “gaining nuclear weapons and dominating this region.”
Cheney’s sharp warnings appeared to be part of a two-track administration campaign to push back at Iran, while leaving the door open to negotiations. It was almost exactly a year ago that the United States offered to negotiate with Iran as long as it first agreed to halt enriching uranium, a decision in which Cheney, participants said, was not a major player. Similarly, the speech Friday was not circulated broadly in the government before it was delivered, a senior American diplomat said.
“He kind of runs by his own rules,” the official said.