WORLD / Middle East

Bush: 'All options on the table' with Iran
Updated: 2006-04-19 10:50

President Bush said Tuesday that "all options are on the table" to prevent Iran from developing atomic weapons, but said he will continue to focus on the international diplomatic option to persuade Tehran to drop its nuclear ambitions.

President Bush again brushed aside an intensifying clamor, Tuesday, April 18, 2006, among retired military commanders for Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld's resignation. Bush made the comments in the Rose Garden at the White House after he announced his Trade Representative Rob Portman as his choice to be the new White House budget director. [AP]

"We want to solve this issue diplomatically and we're working hard to do so," Bush told reporters in the Rose Garden.

Bush also said there should be a unified effort involving countries "who recognize the danger of Iran having a nuclear weapon," and he noted that U.S. officials are working closely nations such as Great Britain, France and Germany on the issue."

"We will continue to work diplomatically," he said.

As Bush spoke, diplomats from six countries converged in Moscow to map out the next step toward solving the Iranian nuclear standoff. The United States and Britain say that if Iran does not comply with the U.N. Security Council's April 28 deadline to stop uranium enrichment, they will seek a resolution that would make the demand compulsory but Russia and China remain wary of sanctions.

Bush said he intends to call on Chinese President Hu Jintao to step up pressure on Iran when the two leaders meet Thursday at the White House.

Iran has so far refused to give up uranium enrichment, which the United States and some of its allies suspect is meant to produce weapons. Tehran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

Bush was asked if his administration was planning for the possibility of a nuclear strike against Iranian nuclear facilities.

"All options are on the table," he said.

But, the president added: "We'll continue to work diplomatically to get this problem solved."