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US President George W. Bush intends to attack Iran in the upcoming months, before the end of his term, Army Radio quoted a senior official in Jerusalem as saying Tuesday.
The official claimed that a senior member of the president's entourage, which concluded a trip to Israel last week, said during a closed meeting that Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were of the opinion that military action was called for.
However, the official continued, "the hesitancy of Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice" was preventing the administration from deciding to launch such an attack on the Islamic Republic, for the time being.
The report stated that according to assessments in Israel, recent turmoil in Lebanon, where Hizbullah de facto established control of the country, was advancing an American attack.
The White House immediately denied the report this morning.
"An article in today's Jerusalem Post about the president's position on Iran that quotes unnamed sources — quoting unnamed sources — is not worth the paper it's written on," White House press secretary Dana Perino said in a statement.
"Let me respond by reaffirming the policy of the administration: We, along with our international allies who want peace in the Middle East, remain opposed to Iran's ambitions to obtain a nuclear weapon," Perino said. "To that end, we are working to bring tough diplomatic and economic pressure on the Iranians to get them to change their behavior and to halt their uranium enrichment program."
Perino said the "president of the United States should never take options off the table, but our preference and our actions for dealing with this matter remain through peaceful diplomatic means. Nothing has changed in that regard."
US generals ‘will quit’ if Bush orders Iran attack
SOME of America’s most senior military commanders are prepared to resign if the White House orders a military strike against Iran, according to highly placed defence and intelligence sources.
Israelis who spoke to Bush and his entourage while they were in Israel last week said they had the impression that the military option "is on the table," and that the president felt a sense of deep obligation to overcome the Iranian threat.