President Bush says no one in his administration is talking about invading Iran, although all options remain on the table. VOA's Paula Wolfson reports from the White House, Mr. Bush was asked about tensions with Tehran during a nationally broadcast interview.
President Bush left Washington Tuesday and traveled to the American Midwest to call attention to his economic policies.
But try as he might to put the focus on taxes and trade, he could not escape questions about Iran and Iraq.
An economics correspondent for the ABC television network was invited to spend the day with the president and conduct an interview during his trip to Illinois. But her conversation with Mr. Bush quickly turned to the dispute over Iran's nuclear ambitions, and the president's concerns about Tehran's intentions towards its neighbor, Iraq.
For the second day in a row, Mr. Bush said action will be taken against Iranians who instigate violence on Iraqi soil. But he said that does not mean he is about to invade Iran.
"We are going to protect our troops. It is not tough talk to say the commander-in-chief expects our troops to be protected. That is common sense it seems to me. Some are trying to take my words and say what he is really trying to do is go invade Iran. Nobody is talking about that," he said.
Mr. Bush said once again that when it comes to dealing with Iran, all options are on the table. But he made clear he wants to resolve disputes with Tehran through diplomatic means.
The president was also asked if the situation in Iraq is detracting from his efforts to focus attention on the growing U.S. economy. He left no doubt he believes the Iraqi conflict is overshadowing an economic success story. "People are working and wages are up but we are in a time of war and war is unsettling. War is negative and I understand that. And frankly the economy is good and strong right now during a difficult period," he said.
President Bush will continue his campaign to call attention to his economic policies on Wednesday with an address in New York City.