WASHINGTON -- U.S. government officials have reassured Israel that the option of attacking Iran over its nuclear programme remains on the table, despite widespread Israeli concern that Washington has begun softening its position toward Tehran, according to The Los Angeles Times. In meetings Monday and Tuesday, administration officials told Defence Minister Ehud Barak that the option of attacking Iran over its nuclear program remains on the table, though U.S. officials are primarily seeking a diplomatic solution. At the same time, U.S. officials acknowledged that there is a rare divergence in the U.S. and Israeli approaches, with Israelis emphasizing the possibility of a military response out of concern that Tehran may soon have the know-how for building a nuclear bomb. "Is there a difference of emphasis? It certainly looks as though there is," said a senior American Defense official, who was not named. U.S. and Israeli officials accuse Iran of enriching uranium with the aim of building nuclear weapons. Iran firmly denies the charge, saying its nuclear programme is geared to peaceful purposed. Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said that U.S. officials have often made it clear to Israeli officials that Washington prefers to try to mitigate the threat from Tehran by applying economic pressure. "The military option, although always available, is not our preferred route," Morrell said. "We have made that point clear to them and the world in our public statements and private meetings." Barak left Israel for Washington amid reports in the Israeli press that he would try to talk the Bush administration out of what many Israelis perceive as a more conciliatory policy toward Iran. On Tuesday, the Israeli Defence Ministry released a statement saying that Barak had told Defense Secretary Robert Gates that "a policy that consists of keeping all options on the table must be maintained."