The US State Department on Monday shrugged off suggestions of a rift between Washington and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder over the threat of using force to halt Iran's nuclear program.
Schroeder raised eyebrows over the weekend by emphatically ruling out a military operation to curb Tehran's suspected nuclear arms ambitions after US President George W. Bush said all options were on the table.
But State Department spokesman Sean McCormack insisted the Americans and Germans agreed on the need for diplomacy to persuade the Iranians to shut down sensitive nuclear fuel-cycle activities.
"I think that we're working very closely with the German government on the issue of Iran. We're working well on the diplomatic approach," McCormack said.
He said Bush's comments aired Friday on Israeli television were "simply a restatement of US policy. But in the same interview he made it very clear that we are working on the diplomatic front."
The statements by Bush and Schroeder echoed their positions before the Iraq war, when Schroeder vehemently opposed the US-led invasion in March 2003.
The United States has supported efforts by Germany, France and Britain to wean the Islamic Republic from its nuclear ambitions with a package of economic and security incentives.
But the Americans have warned they will seek to haul Iran before the UN Security Council if Tehran does not heed a warning by the UN nuclear watchdog to halt sensitive activities resumed after a nine-month suspension.
"That, very clearly, is a diplomatic route forward. That's the route that we're working on," McCormack said Monday, adding, "We're working very closely with Germany on this issue."
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Iran Unveils Hardline Cabinet, Warns US Over Nuclear Threat
Tehran (AFP) Aug 14, 2005
Iran's ultra-conservative President Mahmood Ahmadinejad unveiled a new hardline cabinet on Sunday as Tehran warned the West not to resort to bullying over its nuclear programme.
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