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Cheney Says He Never Advised Strike on Iranian Nuclear Program

Sept. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Former Vice President Dick Cheney said he told his boss, George W. Bush, to keep military options against Iran “on the table,” stopping short of recommending a strike against the nation’s nuclear program.

Cheney told the “Fox News Sunday” program that the Bush administration was “not as effective in the second term” at dealing with nuclear-proliferation issues, including programs in Iran and North Korea. Cheney said his own clout “was diminished” in the second term, and Bush overruled some of his recommendations.

Bush decided against attacking a Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007, against Cheney’s advice, he said, and instead opted “to pursue a diplomatic solution.” The Israeli government “found that unacceptable” and destroyed the reactor in an airstrike in September of that year, Cheney said.

Cheney said he didn’t address in his new book, “In My Time,” whether he ever recommended a strike against Iran.

“We never got to the point where I said, ‘I think we need to launch a strike against the Iranian program,’” he said. “I was always advising to keep that option on the table.”

Cheney appeared on the Fox News program to discuss his memoir, in which he criticizes Colin Powell, Bush’s first secretary of state, and Condoleezza Rice, the former national security adviser and second secretary of state.

Powell has said Cheney took a “cheap shot” at him in his book, and Rice said her former colleague attacked her integriy. Cheney denied both charges. “Obviously, I disagree with him,” Cheney said, referring to Powell.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Wayne in Washington at awayne3@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva in Washington at msilva34@bloomberg.net.

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