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Bush not ruling out force on nuclear issue

CRAWFORD, Texas -- President Bush said in an interview broadcast yesterday that he would consider using force as a last resort to press Iran to give up its nuclear program and that ''all options are on the table."

But Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder of Germany, one of the most prominent European opponents of the US-led war on Iraq, said at an election rally that the threat of force is not acceptable.

In what seemed to be a reference to Bush's remarks, Schroeder told the crowd in his home city of Hanover: ''Let's take the military option off the table. We have seen it doesn't work."

Iran angered the European Union and the United States by resuming uranium conversion at the Isfahan plant last Monday after rejecting an EU offer of political and economic incentives in return for giving up its nuclear program.

Tehran says it aims only to produce electricity and denies Western accusations it is seeking a nuclear bomb.

Bush was asked whether the use of force is a possible option.

''As I say, all options are on the table. The use of force is the last option for any president and you know, we've used force in the recent past to secure our country," he told state-owned Israel Channel One television.

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