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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

UK plays down Bush's military threats against Iran

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, Aug 15, IRNA
UK-Iran Nuclear
The British government Monday indicated that it did not want to be drawn into the dispute between the US and Germany over ruling out the use of military action against Iran.

The Foreign Office in London also sought to play down the provocative comments made by US President George W Bush to Israeli Radio last Friday by repeating that no British officials were talking about using armed force.

"As the foreign secretary has made clear on previous occasions, he cannot conceive of any circumstances in which military action would be justified," a spokesman told IRNA.

Other diplomats in London suggested that Bush's comments were taken out of context and "blown up," while the bottom line was there was nothing really new in American policy, which had never ruled out the military option.

"In essence, he reiterated his support for the diplomatic process, however, he restated his previous position as US president, he cannot take any options off the table," one source told IRNA.

On Saturday German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder warned that the military option for resolving the dispute over Iran's nuclear program should be "taken off the table" and that diplomacy was the answer.

It came after Bush was seen going before in threatening Iran by warning that the US had "used force in the recent past to secure our country."
The Foreign Office insisted that the UK's position had been expressed by Foreign Office Minister Ian Pearson, last Friday, when he called for Iran to "return to the negotiating table with the UK, France and Germany who are backed fully by the European Union." "We still believe there is a non-confrontational way forward and we hope that Iran makes that choice by resuming full suspension of all their nuclear fuel cycle activity," Pearson said.

Diplomats also sought to keep distance about Schroeder's warning, implying the danger of EU-US divisions over Iran, with some suggesting that his comments was "hardly surprising" given German policy of opposing the Iraq war.



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