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Bush Issues Warning to Iran


President Bush is warning Iran of serious consequences if it attacks U.S. ships in international waters. VOA's Paula Wolfson reports Mr. Bush says all options are on the table.

The president says the government of Iran knows where he stands.

"We have made it clear publicly and they know our position, and that is there will be serious consequences if they attack our ships, pure and simple," said President Bush.

The U.S. Defense Department says last weekend Iranian vessels threatened three U.S. naval ships in the Straits of Hormuz. The Pentagon has released a video of the incident, which Tehran has denounced as a fake.

President Bush has called the incident a provocative act. His National Security Advisor, Stephen Hadley, told reporters traveling with the president to Israel that the Iranians came close to causing an altercation.

At a news conference in Jerusalem with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, the president was asked about Hadley's remarks.

"The national security advisor was making it clear that all options are on the table to protect our assets," said President Bush.

Iran is sure to be a big topic of discussion throughout the president's trip to the Middle East.

He is likely to find the strongest support for a tough stand against Tehran in Israel. Iranian leaders have threatened Israel with annihilation. Israel's President Shimon Peres made clear at a welcoming ceremony for Mr. Bush that his country is prepared to act.

"We take your advice not to underestimate the Iranian threat," said Peres. "Iran should not underestimate our resolve for self-defense."

Israel and the United States are trying to raise world concern about Iran's nuclear intentions.

A recent report by the U.S. intelligence community says Iran once had a secret nuclear weapons program but shut it down in 2003. Mr. Bush says he will stress throughout his talks in the region that Iran could resume that program at any time and must not be permitted to enrich uranium.

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