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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bush Impugns Reports on Military Strikes Against Iran

WASHINGTON -- President George W. Bush dismissed as "wild speculation" reports that his administration was planning a military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities.

Bush did not rule out the use of force, but he said he would continue to use diplomatic pressure to prevent Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon or the know-how and technology to make one.

"I know here in Washington prevention means force," Bush said at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. "It doesn't mean force, necessarily. In this case, it means diplomacy."

Several weekend news reports said the administration was studying options for military strikes. The New Yorker magazine said the planning includes the possibility that a nuclear warhead might be used against Iran's underground nuclear sites. The story said military leaders had tried to have it removed from the possible scenarios but were rebuffed.

"I read the articles in the newspapers this weekend," Bush said. "It was just wild speculation."

Sen. Chuck Schumer, who sent a letter to Bush on Monday asking details about how the document was declassified, said, "There are many questions that the president must answer so that the American people can understand that this declassification was done for national security purposes, not for immediate political gain."

In Tehran, officials said the media reports about a possible U.S. strike against Iran amounted to psychological warfare from the West.

Iran's hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told Iranians not to be intimidated by other nations' attempts to stifle the country's nuclear ambitions.

"Unfortunately, today some bullying powers are unable to give up their bullying nature," Ahmadinejad said. "The future will prove that our path was a right way."

Bush and other administration officials have said repeatedly that the military option is on the table, and White House officials acknowledge normal military planning is under way.

European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana recommended on Monday that the 25-nation bloc consider sanctions against Iran including a visa ban on some officials because of Iran's rejection of the U.N. enrichment demands.