Israel planned earlier this year a military strike on Iran's nuclear sites but was told by U.S. President George W. Bush he would not back it, Britain's Guardian newspaper reported on Friday. Quoting what it called senior diplomatic sources who work for a European head of government, the report said Bush told Israel he did not expect to revise that view for the rest of his presidency.
Mark Regev, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, said Israel preferred a diplomatic solution to the dispute over Iran's nuclear works. But, according to Reuters, he added: "All options must remain on the table."
The Guardian said Olmert used the occasion of Bush's trip to Israel for the 60th anniversary of the state's founding to raise the issue in a one-on-one meeting on May 14. "He took (the refusal of a U.S. green light) as where they were at the moment, and that the U.S. position was unlikely to change as long as Bush was in office," said one source.
Regev said Olmert raises "the need to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons" in every meeting he has with foreign leaders. But Regev denied the specific exchange cited in the Guardian. "The words attributed to the prime minister by the Guardian's anonymous source were not spoken in any working meeting between the prime minister and foreign visitors," the spokesman said.
The Guardian said the European head of government met Olmert some time after Bush's visit and that their talks were so sensitive that no note-takers attended.