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Bush reiterates diplomatic solution to Iran's nuclear issue
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US President George W. Bush reiterated on Wednesday that diplomatic solution to Iran's nuclear issue is "the first option" although "all options are on the table".

"I have always said that all options are on the table but the first option for the United States is to solve this problem diplomatically," Bush told a news conference in the White House Rose Garden.

"And the best way to solve it diplomatically is for the United States to work with other nations to send a focused message and that is, you will be isolated, and you will have economic hardship if you continue to enrich."

Bush made the remarks one day after Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said in New York that Iran is "seriously and carefully examining" a package of economic incentive offered by the United States and its negotiating partners.

"We see the potential for a new round of talks ... The two sides are trying to see if they can arrive at a new modality," Mottaki told reporters at Iran's United Nations mission Tuesday, adding that Iran would officially respond the international offer "within weeks."

US officials reacted cautiously to Mottaki's comments, stressing that Tehran has offered no sign it is prepared to suspend uranium-enrichment activities, the principal precondition to talks held by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

The United States and its western allies accused Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons under the cover of its stated goal of developing civilian nuclear power. Iran denies US allegations.

(Xinhua News Agency July 3, 2008)

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