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Bush Prefers Diplomacy, But Will Use Military If Needed On Iran

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.

(AFP, dpa)

Iraq And Iran

Iraq And Iran

Iranian Shi'a protesting the Golden Mosque Bombing in Iraq on February 24

WHAT IS GOING ON? On March 8, RFE/RL's Washington office hosted a roundtable discussion on relations between Iraq and Iran. Although most analysts agree that Iran has been actively involved in Iraq since the U.S.-led military operation to oust former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, they continue to debate the nature, extent, and intent of that involvement.
The RFE/RL briefing featured WAYNE WHITE, former deputy director of the U.S. State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research's Office of Analysis for the Near East and South Asia, and A. WILLIAM SAMII, RFE/RL's regional analyst for Iran and editor of the "RFE/RL Iran Report."


Listen to the complete RFE/RL briefing (about 75 minutes):
Real Audio Windows Media


Iran/Iraq: Bilateral Ties Improving Despite U.S. Worries

Renewed Speculation About Tehran And Instability In Iraq

Iran/Iraq: Neighbors Mending Ties, But Outstanding Issues Remain


RFE/RL's coverage of Iran. RFE/RL's coverage of Iraq.