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Bush: Iran has Weeks, Not Months, to Respond to Nuclear Proposal


President Bush says there will be U.N. Security Council action against Iran, if the country does not stop enriching uranium. The U.N. nuclear agency says Iran this week launched a new round of uranium enrichment, as it received details of a new diplomatic effort to end the standoff.

President Bush says the government in Tehran has weeks, not months, to respond to the latest proposal by the United States and its European allies.

By offering to meet with Iran if it agrees to suspend uranium enrichment, President Bush says the move represents a shift in U.S. tactics, not in strategy.

Iran has previously said it will verifiably suspend enriching uranium. President Bush says it is time now to see whether the government in Tehran means it.

"If they choose not to suspend verifiably, there must be a consequence," said Mr. Bush. "There must be a sense of urgency on our part to send a common message to them."

The president spoke following talks with Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen. The prime minister said he is pleased that Washington has joined European allies in presenting a unified package of proposals to Tehran.

"It's now up to the Iranians to take advantage of this window of opportunity," said Mr. Rasmussen.

During Friday prayers in Tehran a leading hard-line cleric said the country should continue enriching uranium. Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati said the U.S.-European package of incentives is, in his words, "good for them," but not for Iran.

Details of those incentives are still sketchy, but are thought to include support for Iran joining the World Trade Organization, help in building a nuclear power plant, and the suspension of some U.S. trade sanctions that prevent Iran from buying spare parts for an aging fleet of American-made aircraft.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says Iran launched a new round of uranium enrichment this week. President Bush says Iran is secretly developing a nuclear weapons program. Tehran says it is enriching uranium only for the peaceful civilian purpose of generating electricity.

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