AFP: US President George W. Bush wants a peaceful end to “the Iranian problem,” the White House said Monday after a fresh report that the United States is looking at possible military options. WASHINGTON (AFP) US President George W. Bush wants a peaceful end to “the Iranian problem,” the White House said Monday after a fresh report that the United States is looking at possible military options.
“The president has said that he believes there is a diplomatic solution that we can use to solve the Iranian problem. And that’s why we’re working with our allies to get there,” said Bush spokeswoman Dana Perino.
Perino refused to comment on an article in The New Yorker magazine about alleged US preparations for war except to express frustration with its unnamed sources and with other US media outlets for reporting what the piece said.
“We don’t discuss such things. What we have said and what we are working toward is a diplomatic solution in Iran,” she said.
“What the president has also said is that as a president, as a commander in chief — and any commander in chief would not take any option off the table — but the option that we are pursuing right now is diplomacy,” said Perino.
The magazine reported that the White House had asked the Pentagon earlier this year to redraw longstanding contingency plans for a possible attack on the Islamic republic amid concerns over its nuclear program and allegations of aiding fighters who target US troops in Iraq.
The New Yorker, which cited anonymous sources, said that Bush told the US ambassador to Baghdad, Ryan Crocker, a few months ago that he was thinking of hitting Iranian targets across Iraq’s border and that he had British support.
At that point, the magazine said, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice interjected that Washington needed to proceed carefully because of diplomatic outreach to Tehran, and Bush ended up telling Crocker to warn Iran of retribution if it continued to interfere with US-led efforts in Iraq.
“I’m not going to comment on that,” said Perino. “I’m not going to comment on any possible scenario that an anonymous source continues to feed into (investigative reporters Seymour) Sy Hersh. I’m just not going to do it.”