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. Israel backs EU push on Iran nukes: defense minister
WASHINGTON (AFP) Mar 30, 2005
Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said here Wednesday that his country supports European diplomatic efforts on Tehran's controversial nuclear program.

"There is a diplomatic approach by the European countries with the Iranians, and we believe that the diplomatic channel is the right channel for stopping the Iranians to achieve their nuclear power," Mofaz said after meeting with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said last week in a meeting with US lawmakers that Israel had no intention of attacking Iranian nuclear facilities.

London's Sunday Times reported earlier this month that Israel has drawn up attack plans against Iranian nuclear sites should diplomacy fail.

And in January, US Vice President Dick Cheney invoked the possibility that Israel could attack Iranian nuclear facilities.

Rice said on March 13 that the United States had not given a green light for an Israeli airstrike against Iran and that it preferred the use of diplomacy.

In 1981, Israeli warplanes destroyed Iraq's nuclear power plant near Baghdad.

Britain, France and Germany have tried to secure guarantees that Iran will not seek to acquire nuclear weapons in exchange for trade, security, diplomatic and technology agreements.

The United States and Israel accuse Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons. Washington has not ruled out military options to prevent Tehran from building a bomb should diplomacy fail.

Tehran says its nuclear activities are peaceful.

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