President Bush says he will not meet with Iran's leader on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly next week. President Bush wants sanctions against Iran, because it is refusing to heed international demands to suspend uranium enrichment.
President Bush and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will both be in New York for the U.N. session, but Mr. Bush says he will not meet with his Iranian counterpart because President Ahmadinejad has failed to meet U.N. demands to stop enriching uranium.
"I have made it clear to the Iranian regime that we will sit down with the Iranians once they verifiably suspend their enrichment program, and I meant what I said," said Mr. Bush.
President Bush says Iran is secretly developing a nuclear weapons program.
President Ahmadinejad says Iran is pursuing nuclear technology for the peaceful civilian purpose of generating electricity.
Of the five permanent U.N. Security Council members, the United States, Britain, and France, supported by Germany, back economic sanctions against Iran for failing to meet an August 31 deadline to suspend uranium enrichment. Russia and China have previously favored a more cautious approach, saying sanctions could make the situation worse.
European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana says negotiators are, in his words, "really making progress" on resolving the standoff. He told reporters in Brussels that, never before has there been what he called this level of engagement with Iranian officials over this issue.
French officials says Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, says his country is ready to discuss suspending its uranium enrichment program.
President Bush believes Iran is trying to delay the process in hopes of dividing those opposed to its nuclear program.