Bush Says Notion of Attack on Iran 'Ridiculous'

President Bush says the idea that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is, in his words, "ridiculous".  But he says he will not rule out any options. 

Meeting reporters after the 90-minute summit, Mr. Bush said the United States and Europe share a common objective regarding Iran, and that is that the Islamic Republic should not have a nuclear weapon.

Britain, France and Germany have offered technological, political and economic aid to Iran if it scraps its program to enrich uranium.  The United States has reservations about the European strategy, but Mr. Bush has indicated that he is prepared to wait and see what it accomplishes.

When asked whether the United States was contemplating attacking Iran, he replied forcefully.

"This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous.  Having said that, all options are on the table," he said.

In the past, Mr. Bush has said that an American president can never rule out the use of military force, adding that it is always the last option.

The Europeans have asked Mr. Bush to back their negotiations with Iran by offering the country security guarantees.  But Mr. Bush has refused to do so, insisting instead that Iran must abandon its uranium enrichment program first.

Earlier, during his visit to NATO headquarters, Mr. Bush addressed another issue that divides the EU from the United States.  The EU has said that it is ready to lift its arms embargo on China, a move Washington fears will alter the strategic balance in Asia.

"There is deep concern in our country that a transfer of weapons would be a transfer of technology to China, which would change the balance of relations between China and Taiwan, and that's of concern," added Mr. Bush.

Mr. Bush says the EU leaders have assured him that they will try to find ways of accommodating U.S. objections.  But he stressed that the Europeans must convince the U.S. Congress, where there is strong support for curbing U.S. sales of advanced military technology to Europe, once the EU arms ban on China is lifted.

Seeking to put U.S.-European differences over the Iraq War behind them, both sides announced that they would be willing to host a conference aimed at rallying international support to rebuild Iraq.  Earlier Tuesday, all of NATO's 26 nations offered symbolic support for a modest NATO training program for Iraqi staff officers.

Mr. Bush's trip to Brussels and his willingness to listen to the Europeans was appreciated by his hosts.  As European Commission President Jose Manuel Durao Barroso put it, Mr. Bush's visit has given new life to the partnership between Europe and the United States.

"I believe that transatlantic relations have turned a corner,” Noted Mr. Barroso.  “A new listening partnership is emerging.  The challenge now is to turn this new spirit into reality and show the world we are able to translate it into concrete results."

Despite the careful choreography, the new tone and the desire on both sides to turn the page, some European officials are still wondering if Mr. Bush means what he says.  They are uncertain if he is inviting them to take part in an agenda pre-determined by the United States or help the United States shape the agenda.

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs