Bush to sort out Iranian dispute through diplomacy
Washington, Apr 11: President Bush says he remains committed to finding a diplomatic solution to the dispute over Iran's nuclear program.
Recent US media reports have alleged military strike on Iranian nuclear installations is an option.
Downplaying the possible use of military force Bush said, "What you are reading is wild speculation, which happens quite frequently here in the nation's capital." The President said he believes in - what he calls -'' a doctrine of prevention''. But he makes clear that does not mean he believes the use of force is not warranted to deal with a perceived threat.
"The doctrine of prevention is to work together to prevent the Iranians from having a nuclear weapon. I know, here in Washington, we hear, it means force. It does not mean force, necessarily. In this case, it means diplomacy".
Addressing a group of foreign policy students at the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington DC, Bush said that, in the case of Iran, multi-lateral diplomacy is the best course. He said bilateral discussions between Tehran and Washington would not work, saying it is far more effective when many countries raise joint concerns over Iran's nuclear ambitions.
"We do not want the Iranians to have a nuclear weapon, the capacity to make a nuclear weapon, or the knowledge as to how to make a nuclear weapon. That is our stated goal. It is also the goal, fortunately, of other friends and allies." Bush told his audience that good progress is being made, though he did not go into the specifics.
Meanwhile White House Spokesman Scott McClellan also downplayed the prospects for the use of military force. He said no President ever takes the military option completely off the table, but he stressed the United States is seeking a diplomatic solution to this dispute.
McClellan said the media reports of military planning cited unnamed former officials and outside experts, who did not understand the administration's thinking. And while he did not confirm or deny that a contingency plan is being made, he stressed several times that diplomacy is the administration's chosen approach to this problem.
Responding to a spate of questions on the issue, McClellan said: ''We're working quite hard on what is a very difficult issue. And we have had some success over the past year in building a greater consensus about the fact that Iran should not be allowed to have a nuclear weapon, the technology to build a nuclear weapon, or the know-how to build a nuclear weapon. And the Iranian regime has heard that very clear and very strongly from the international community, from the IAEA, and from the Security Council. So that's the focus of our efforts here at the State Department.'' Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the reports, which appeared in The Washington Post newspaper and The New Yorker magazine, are part of a campaign of a psychological warfare being waged by the United States. He said Iran will not be dissuaded from its nuclear goals.
Iran insists its nuclear program is designed to produce electricity. But the United States and other countries have accused Tehran of using the civilian program as a cover for developing nuclear weapons.