The United States has no intention to change Iran's regime and it has no plans to invade the nation neighbouring Iraq, where 140,000 US troops are stationed, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said in an interview to be broadcast Sunday.
"We are not getting ready to invade Iran," Powell told CNBC television when asked if having 140,000 troops in Iraq makes it easier to deal with Iran.
"We have no intention of regime change. That is our policy: no regime change," he said, although he added "we don't approve of this regime.
"It is up to the Iranian people to decide what they are going to do with respect to their future and how they are going to be led," Powell said.
Hawks within President George Bush's administration have advocated for regime change in Tehran, through covert operations or force if needed, Newsweek magazine reported in September.
The United States is focused on halting Iran's nuclear ambitions and its support to "terrorist organisations," Powell said.
"It seems to me that every civilized nation in Europe and the United Nations and everywhere else ought to be concerned that Iran is moving in the direction of acquiring nuclear weapons technology and does continue to support terrorist activity," Powell said.
He said Washington is working with the international community to resolve concerns over Iran's nuclear program.
Britain, France and Germany are trying to persuade Iran to suspend crucial nuclear fuel cycle activities, including the enrichment of uranium to ease international concern over what the United States alleges is a covert weapons drive.
The International Atomic Energy Agency will meet in Vienna November 25 to consider the Iranian nuclear issue.
So says Powell. :)
I'll bet the AFP didn't see that Sec. Powell had his fingers crossed behind his back.