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U.S. commander for Middle East resigns

Adm. William Fallon stepped down after an article in Esquire magazine portrayed his views on Iran as being at odds with those of President Bush.

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Adm. William Fallon, the commander of U.S. Forces in the Middle East, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Dennis Cook/AP

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The US military commander in charge of the Middle East has stepped down after his stance on preventing a war with Iran became a "distraction at a critical time."

Adm. William "Fox" Fallon, commander of US Central Command in Tampa, Fla., resigned after an article in Esquire magazine portrayed his views on Iran as being at odds with those of his commander in chief, President Bush.

"Recent press reports suggesting a disconnect between my views and the president's policy objectives have become a distraction at a critical time and hamper efforts in the CENTCOM region," Admiral Fallon said in a prepared statement. "And although I don't believe there have ever been any differences about the objectives of our policy in the Central Command area of responsibility, the simple perception that there is makes it difficult for me to effectively serve America's interests there."

In a profile in the April issue of Esquire magazine, titled "The Man Between War and Peace," Fallon is portrayed as being the sole uniform between Mr. Bush and a war with Iran. The Bush administration has long considered Iran to be part of an "axis of evil." In recent years, new questions have risen over Iran's nuclear program, as well as over its support for Shiite and even some Sunni groups in Iraq, which is blamed for having a destabilizing effect on the country.

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