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Bush Says World 'United' in Concerns Over Iran

The U.N. nuclear agency says Iran has failed to meet a Security Council deadline to stop enriching uranium. President Bush says key members of the international community are united in addressing the issue. Russia and China oppose U.S. calls for sanctions.

President Bush says the International Atomic Energy Agency report is an important statement that reminds nations of the world that there is an ongoing diplomatic effort to convince Iran to give up what he says are the nation's dangerous ambitions to build a nuclear weapon.

He says it should remind Iran that the world is united and concerned about those ambitions.

"It's very important for the Iranians to understand there is a common desire by a lot of nations in this world to convince them, peacefully convince them, that they ought to give up their weapons ambitions," he said.

Speaking to reporters in the White House Rose Garden, the president said he is committed to resolving the issue diplomatically.

Iran says it is enriching uranium for the peaceful civilian purpose of generating electricity. Tehran says it has that right and is determined to continue the process regardless of U.N. demands.

Asked if that defiance undermines hopes for a peaceful solution, President Bush said he believes the diplomatic options are just beginning.

Those options are limited by the willingness of Russia and China to go along with U.S., French, and British calls for more binding action. Russia has said the matter should be resolved through the U.N. nuclear agency and not at the Security Council.

President Bush says all five permanent Security Council members agree on the need to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

"Now that we've got the goal in mind, we are working on the tactics," he said. And today's IAEA report should remind us all that the Iranian government's intransigence is not acceptable."

President Bush dismissed comparisons with U.N. actions against Iraq in the run-up to the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, saying then-Iraqi-dictator Saddam Hussein had defied decades of U.N. resolutions and was threatening U.S. troops in the region.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a rally that the nation will not "give a damn" about what he called useless U.N. resolutions.

Asked about those comments and whether President Ahmadinejad is someone he could work with, President Bush said it is going to be the Iranian leader's choice eventually.

 

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