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US not to drop diplomatic approach over Iran nuke issue
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The White House on Friday accused Iran of defying international obligations by conducting missile tests, but insisted it would still try to solve the issue through diplomacy.

Speaking of Iran's recent missile tests, White House spokesperson Dana Perino said "I would just characterize it as continued Iranian defiance of international obligations and further isolating its people."

"But I don't think that we are anywhere off, that we are at all off the course that we have been on, which is trying to solve this diplomatically," she added.

Iran's recent actions have only restrengthened the resolve of the international community, which strongly believes that Iran should not be allowed to have nuclear weapons, said Perino.

Iran's Revolutionary Guards, an elite army unit, announced Wednesday that it had fired a Shahab-3 missile, which is capable of reaching Israel, drawing a strong reaction from the United States.

Earlier on Thursday, Iran tested more medium- and long-range missiles in the Persian Gulf, including shore-to-sea, surface-to-surface and sea-to-air varieties.

The missile tests come at a time when the United States and Israel have refused to rule out the possibility of using military force in the search for a solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis.

Downplaying U.S.-Iran military confrontation, White House spokesman Tony Fratto said Thursday that the risk of war between the United States and Iran has not increased although the latter had missile tests.

However, it has been noticed that Iran's latest missile tests have prompted Washington to voice its readiness to defend its interests in the Gulf and its allies in the region.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday that the United States had beefed up its security presence in the Persian Gulf and would not hesitate to defend Israel and other allies.

(Xinhua News Agency July 12, 2008)

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