ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates
An American envoy repeated US allegations Monday about an Iranian nuclear weapons program and said Israel might attack Iran's nuclear sites because the Jewish state has "a history" of such actions.
John Bolton, the State Department's top international security official, was referring to Israel's 1981 bombing raid on Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor.
"The vice president said we're very concerned that this might happen," Bolton said, referring to a recent statement by US Vice President Dick Cheney.
"Israel destroyed the Osirak reactor in Iraq. They have a history of this," Bolton said.
Earlier this month, Cheney said it was possible Israel might attack Iran if it became convinced Tehran posed a nuclear threat.
Bolton is on the final stop of a three-country Persian Gulf tour to coordinate policies in light of the perceived threat of Iran's nuclear ambitions.
Speaking to a group of reporters during a one-day visit to Abu Dhabi, he said the United States was ready to dismantle Iran's nuclear assets and store them at the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.
After renouncing its nuclear weapons program in 2003, Libya allowed its nuclear assets to be transferred to the US lab.
"Libya provides a case where a regime can give up weapons of mass destruction and stay in power," he said. "We didn't make any deals with Libya. Libya made its decision based on what it saw in Iraq," Bolton said. "They came to the decision that it was safer to give up nuclear weapons than to pursue them."
Bolton, on the final leg of a Gulf tour that has already taken him to Kuwait and Bahrain, repeated earlier statements by US President George W. Bush that Washington doesn't rule out its own military strikes on Iran but prefers to halt any weapons program in Tehran using diplomacy.
"We never rule any option out, but we're trying to resolve this diplomatically," he said.