WASHINGTON – The White House on Tuesday denied a published report in Israel that said President Bush intends to attack Iran before the end of his term in January.
A story in the Jerusalem Post quoted a "senior official" there as saying that Bush plans to attack Iran in the coming months. The story says the unidentified official claimed that a "senior member" of Bush's traveling entourage made the statement about attacking Iran in a closed meeting. Bush was in Israel last week.
The article also says the unnamed Bush official said that Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney "were of the opinion that military action were called for."
"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."
Members of Congress were unmoved Tuesday by the allegation. Senators used a lengthy congressional hearing with Defense Secretary Robert Gates to discuss instead whether the U.S. should establish a direct dialogue with Tehran.
When asked to comment on the Jerusalem Post report, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said: "You're talking about an allegation without a source that has been denied by the president. I think we can leave it at that."