- Jun 11, 2003
- Taking stock in the Lord
World replies: "Oh yeah? You and what army?"
Bush: Force last resort on Iran
Saturday, August 13, 2005; Posted: 5:44 a.m. EDT (09:44 GMT)
Bush: "We want diplomacy to work ... and we'll see if we're successful."
JERUSALEM (Reuters) -- U.S. President George W. Bush said on Israeli television he could consider using force as a last resort to press Iran to give up its nuclear program.
"All options are on the table," Bush, speaking at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, said in the interview broadcast on Saturday.
Asked if that included the use of force, Bush replied: "As I say, all options are on the table. The use of force is the last option for any president and you know, we've used force in the recent past to secure our country."
Iran angered the European Union and the United States by resuming uranium conversion at the Isfahan plant last Monday after rejecting an EU offer of political and economic incentives in return for giving up its nuclear program.
Tehran says it aims only to produce electricity and denies Western accusations it is seeking a nuclear bomb.
Bush made clear he still hoped for a diplomatic solution, noting that EU powers Britain, Germany and France had taken the lead in dealing with Iran.
Washington last week expressed a willingness to give negotiations on Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program more time before getting tougher with the country.
"In all these instances we want diplomacy to work and so we're working feverishly on the diplomatic route and we'll see if we're successful or not," Bush told state-owned Israel Channel One television.
Bush has also previously said that the United States has not ruled out the possibility of military strikes. But U.S. officials have played down media speculation earlier this year they were planning military action against Iran.
French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said on Friday that negotiations were still possible with Iran on condition the Iranians suspend their nuclear activities.
The governing board of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) unanimously called on Iran on Thursday to halt sensitive atomic work.
Douste-Blazy said the next step would be on September 3 when IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei reports on Iran's activities.
If Iran continues to defy global demands, another IAEA meeting will likely be held, where both Europe and Washington will push for a referral to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions.