Bush: Iran Defying World with Ambitions for Nuclear Weapons



President Bush says Iran is defying the world with its ambitions for nuclear weapons. But he says the international community is committed to preventing Tehran from fulfilling those ambitions and will continue to press the Iranian government to comply with U.N. Security Council resolutions.

In a wide-ranging speech late Thursday at a Washington conference of the American Jewish Committee, a Jewish advocacy group, Mr. Bush accused Tehran of repressing its citizens, sponsoring terrorists, destabilizing the region and threatening Israel.

Mr. Bush said the United States will continue to rally the world to confront those threats.

"The first goal is to reach a common objective," he said. "The objective of America, our European allies, Russia and China is to deny Iran a nuclear weapon."

Mr. Bush's comments came hours after the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council: the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China, held a first round of talks on a draft resolution on Iran's nuclear program.

The resolution, introduced by Britain and France, and strongly backed by Washington, does not threaten economic sanctions, but invokes Chapter Seven, a section of the U.N. charter, which can be used to authorize sanctions and military force as a last resort.

Iran's U.N. envoy, Javad Zarif, said Thursday the resolution is aimed at provoking a crisis. He said Iran wants a negotiated solution to the standoff. Iran says its nuclear program is to produce electricity.

On other topics, Mr. Bush said the United States would not waver in its commitment to the security of Israel, and would have no contact with Hamas leaders of the Palestinian Authority, until the militant group recognizes the Jewish state.

"As you know, I'm a strong believer in democracy and free elections. But that does not mean we have to support elected officials who are not committed to peace," said Mr. Bush. "Hamas has made it clear that they do not acknowledge the right of Israel to exist. And I made it clear that, so long as that's their policy, we will have no contact with the leaders of Hamas."

The United States and the European Union have cut off direct financial aid for the Palestinian Authority.

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