Iran General NewsUS says it will emphasize diplomacy with Iran

US says it will emphasize diplomacy with Iran

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ImageAFP: The White House on Friday reiterated it would focus on diplomacy to persuade Iran to renounce sensitive nuclear activities after an Israeli official said force was the only option left.

ImageWASHINGTON (AFP) — The White House on Friday reiterated it would focus on diplomacy to persuade Iran to renounce sensitive nuclear activities after an Israeli official said force was the only option left.

"I am not going to talk about hypotheticals; I think we've been pretty clear in recent weeks and months about our approach on Iran," said Scott Stanzel, a White House spokesman.

"Obviously (…) issues of security in the Middle East are issues that the president did talk with Prime Minister (Ehud) Olmert about this week."

President George W. Bush's administration regularly says all options, including force, are "on the table" to counter what it deems an Iranian threat. But it also says diplomacy is its priority, as well as tightening international sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

"The international community, I believe, is united in the desire to make sure that Iran doesn't develop a nuclear weapon and have a severe threat that we don't want to see come to fruition," the spokesman added.

An Israeli deputy prime minister earlier Friday warned that Iran would face attack if it pursues what he said was its nuclear weapons programme.

"If Iran continues its nuclear weapons programme, we will attack it," said Shaul Mofaz, who is also transportation minister.

"Other options are disappearing. The sanctions are not effective. There will be no alternative but to attack Iran in order to stop the Iranian nuclear programme," Mofaz told the Yediot Aharonot daily.

He stressed such an operation could only be conducted with US support.

A former defense minister and armed forces chief of staff, Mofaz hopes to replace embattled Olmert as prime minister and at the helm of the Kadima party.

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