Military option against Iran persists

Israel and the United States have not eliminated the military option against Iran, a senior Israeli official said.

Briefing journalists Thursday on President Bush’s talks in Jerusalem, the official said that while both countries preferred diplomatic and economic measures, they did not “remove any option from the table.”

“I don’t want to speak for the president, but when we say all options are on the table, this is not just words,” the Israeli said, underlining his country’s seriousness..

At a joint news conference Wednesday with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Bush said, “Iran was a threat, Iran is a threat and Iran will be a threat if the international community does not come together and prevent that nation from the development of the know-how to build a nuclear weapon.”

After meeting with Israeli and Palestinian officials, Bush will visit Arab states in the Persian Gulf, including Saudi Arabia, all of which share concern about Iran’s nuclear program. Bush also will visit Egypt.

The Israeli official said Bush’s trip could help strengthen the moderate Arab coalition against Iran. He said pressure from the moderates “will hopefully turn into meaningful influence on Iran’s calculus regarding its nuclear program.”

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