President Bush says it looks like some progress is being made in getting Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment program, but he wants international inspectors to verify the country's compliance with a deal negotiated by European leaders. The President made the comments in Colombia where he stopped on his way home from the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Chile.
The head of the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency says Iran appears to have suspended its uranium-enrichment activities as promised, but it will take several days to verify that compliance.
Speaking to reporters in the Colombian port city of Cartagena, President Bush says he hopes it is true but it must be proven. "I think the definition of truth is the willingness for the Iranian regime to allow for verification. You know, they have said some things in the past and it is very important for them to verify and earn the trust of those of us who are worried about them developing a nuclear weapon. And that's not just the United States," he said. "It's France and Great Britain and Germany and other nations around the world that understand the dangers of the Iranian government having a nuclear weapon."
President Bush has expressed concerns about reports that Iran was producing a precursor to enriched uranium ahead of a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna Thursday. The Bush Administration wants that meeting to consider referring Iran's case to the U.N. Security Council for possible economic sanctions.
Iran is trying to avoid those sanctions and agreed to suspend all uranium enrichment activities in a deal negotiated by Britain, France, and Germany.
President Bush says those countries' involvement shows that they, and many others, believe that Tehran has the ambition to develop nuclear weapons.
Iran says its nuclear program is a peaceful, civilian effort only meant to produce electricity. The Bush Administration says the oil-rich country has no need for nuclear energy and believes Iran's nuclear program is part of a clandestine effort to develop nuclear weapons.