February 23, 2007, RFE/RL -- U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, refusing to rule out military action, says Washington will "do everything" it can to deprive Iran of nuclear weapons.
In an interview in Australia, where he is traveling, Cheney said Washington has not taken "any options off the table" with regard to Iran.
U.S. and other Western officials have accused Iran of secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons, a charge that Iranian officials dismiss.
Meanwhile, setbacks to the U.S.-led military campaign in Iraq have prompted an escalation in rhetoric between Washington and Tehran, which President George W. Bush has accused of training and arming the Iraqi insurgency.
Cheney also questioned whether North Korea will comply with a recent deal to disable its main nuclear complex in return for fuel oil.
He praised China for its role in the six-party talks that led to the February 13 deal with Pyongyang. But he also expressed concerns over Beijing's military build-up.
"Other actions by the Chinese government send a different message," Cheney said. "Last month's antisatellite test, China's continued, fast-paced military build-up, are less constructive and are not consistent with China's stated goal of a 'peaceful rise.'"
Cheney also stressed the importance of coalition forces remaining in Iraq until the country has stabilized.
(compiled from agency reports)
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