(AFP) – Apr 11, 2008
CRAWFORD, Texas (AFP) — US President George W. Bush said Friday he has no intention of attacking Iran, in an interview in which he also gave some advice to his successor on how to deal with the Islamic Republic.
Questioned during an interview with ABC television whether his intention was to not attack Iran, Bush replied: "Exactly" -- although he refused to rule out the use of force altogether.
"I have always said all options need to be on the table, but my first effort is to solve this issue diplomatically," he said from his Texas ranch.
Bush said he was not planning an attack, adding: "I'm chuckling, because, you know, from my perch, my perspective, these rumors happen all the time ... I wouldn't say they're amusing. It's part of the job, I guess."
The president accuses Iran of seeking nuclear weapons and arming and funding groups fighting US forces in Iraq.
And he made clear in the interview that he would act to protect Americans or Iraqis from Iranian actions in neighboring Iraq.
"The message to the Iranians is: we will bring you to justice if you continue to try to infiltrate, send your agents or send surrogates to bring harm to our troops and/or the Iraqi citizens," he said.
Asked to elaborate on this "justice," Bush replied: "It means capture or kill, is what that means."
With less than ten months until he leaves office, the president also offered some advice to his successor in the White House, including thinly veiled criticism of Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama.
The Illinois senator has said he would open a dialogue with Iran if elected president, while Bush has said any talks must take place in a multilateral forum and on condition that Tehran suspend its sensitive nuclear activities.
"If you send the wrong signals as the president to the Iranians, they may pocket that signal, become even more difficult to deal with," Bush said.
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