Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad said he will protect his country from "conspiracies" from the West (file photo) (AFP)
March 20, 2006 -- U.S. President George W. Bush today said he hopes to resolve the nuclear dispute with Iran with diplomacy, but warned Tehran he would use military force if necessary to defend Israel.
Bush, speaking in Cleveland, said Tehran poses a "serious threat" to Israel.
"The threat from Iran is, of course, [that] their stated objective is to destroy our strong ally, Israel," he said. "That's a threat, a serious threat. It is a threat to world peace; it is a threat, in essence, to a strong alliance. I've made it clear, and I'll make it clear again that we will use military might to protect our ally, Israel."
Bush, speaking about Iran's nuclear program, said he hoped "to solve this issue diplomatically" with a "united message" to Tehran from Washington, London, Paris, and Berlin, as well as Russia and China.
Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad meanwhile said today that Tehran will protect its nuclear program against "conspiracies" planned by the West. He did not mention any country by name.