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. Bush told Sharon he backs diplomacy on Iran
WASHINGTON (AFP) Apr 13, 2005
US President George W. Bush told Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon this week that he supports European diplomatic efforts to ensure Iran does not develop nuclear weapons, the White House said Wednesday.

"The president talked about the importance of supporting the European efforts" when he welcomed Sharon to his Texas ranch on Monday, spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters.

"What we are doing is continuing to support the Europeans in their efforts to get Iran to abandon their nuclear weapon ambitions, and the president talked about the diplomatic efforts going on by the Europeans," said McClellan.

The spokesman's comments came after The New York Times reported that Sharon had shown Bush satellite photos of Iranian nuclear sites and warned that Tehran was approaching a "point of no return" in learning how to make an atomic bomb.

McClellan refused to discuss the photographs or whether Bush had told Sharon that Israel should not take matters into its own hands -- something US Vice President Dick Cheney warned about in a January television interview.

"We all have a shared concern and a shared goal, our shared goal is to make sure Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon. That would be a very destabalizing factor in the region," said the spokesman.

"We continue to support those (European) diplomatic efforts to resolve this in a peaceful manner," said McClellan.

The United States charges that oil-rich Iran is using its civilian nuclear program to cover up a quest for atomic weapons. Tehran fervently denies the accusation.

Iran has agreed to suspend the enrichment of uranium as it negotiates with Britain, France and Germany to win trade, security and technology rewards in return for giving guarantees that it is not trying to develop nuclear weapons.

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