Condoleezza Rules out Iran Attack.For Now; U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE PLAYS DOWN MILITARY ACTION IN MEETING WITH BLAIR

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Byline: JOE MURPHY

GEORGE BUSH'S right-hand woman played down the prospect of war with Iran after talks in London today.

However, Condoleezza Rice pointedly refused to rule out a future military attack to prevent the Islamic state getting hold of nuclear weapons.

She said an attack was "not on the agenda at this point".

The new US Secretary of State went out of her way to help Tony Blair at a press conference, by playing down fears of another Middle East war in the run-up to Labour's re-election campaign.

But she lambasted Iran's "abysmal" human rights record, its nuclear programme and suppression of freedoms - making clear that the US administration is not letting up on its hard line.

Asked about prospects of an attack, she said: "The question is simply not on the agenda at this point. We have diplomatic means to do this. Iran is not immune to the winds of change blowing through the Arab world.

"We particularly believe that on the nuclear issue there are plenty of diplomatic means at our disposal. …

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