London, Oct 1: A senior Pentagon official appears to have given diplomatic etiquette and niceties a miss, when she told a team of British MPs visiting the Pentagon that she hated all Iranians.
According to The Daily Mail,Debra Cagan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Coalition Affairs to Defence Secretary Robert Gates, shocked the six British parliamentarians with her hardline reaction to Iran.
She also accused Britain of "dismantling" the Anglo-US-led coalition in Iraq by pulling troops out of Basra too soon.
Cagan, a key foreign policy adviser of President Bush, made it clear that while Washington had no plans to attack Iran, it did not rule out doing so if Tehran ignored warnings not to develop a nuclear bomb.
It was her tone that shocked the MPs the most.
The MPs say that at one point she said: "In any case, I hate all Iranians."
"She seemed more keen on saying she didn't like Iranians than that the US had no plans to attack Iran," said one MP who met Cagan on September 11.
Another MP thought that the U.S. is looking for an excuse to attack Iran, and described it as a very alarming development. Ms Cagan, whose job involves keeping the coalition in Iraq together, also criticised Britain for pulling out troops.
The MPs also appeared to be intimidated by her "muscular style." The Pentagon denied Cagan said she "hated" Iranians.
But when The Mail spoke to four of the six MPs, three confirmed privately that she made the remark and one declined to comment. The other two could not be contacted.