President Bush says the international community will not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons. The president is asking Congress for $75 million to help bring about democratic change in Iran.
President Bush says Iran is secretly developing a nuclear weapons program. Iran says its uranium enrichment activities are for the purpose of generating electricity.
With the dispute now referred to the U.N. Security Council, President Bush says the international community is united in ensuring that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons.
"The free world is sending the regime in Tehran a clear message. We are not going to allow Iran to have nuclear weapons," said Mr. Bush.
Russian and Chinese officials are in Tehran for talks on a plan that could avert U.N. sanctions by having Russia enrich uranium for Iran so as to guarantee that none of that material is diverted for use in a nuclear weapon.
The meetings come days before the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) finalizes a report on the country's nuclear program.
The Bush administration says it is withholding judgment on what to do next about Iran's nuclear program until it sees that report.
President Bush says what he calls Tehran's aggressive behavior and defiant ambition for nuclear weapons is further increasing its international isolation.
"Iran is a nation held hostage by a small clerical elite that is isolating and repressing its people and denying them basic liberties and human rights," he added. "The Iranian regime sponsors terrorists and is actively working to expand its influence in the region."
Because of what he says are Iran's nuclear ambitions and support for terrorism, Mr. Bush is asking Congress for $75 million to help combat what he says are the repressive policies of a clerical regime.
"A non-transparent society that is the world's premier state sponsor of terror cannot be allowed to posses the world's most dangerous weapons," he explained. "So as we confront Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions, we are also reaching out to the Iranian people to support their desire to be free, to build a free, democratic and transparent society."
Mr. Bush says the four-fold increase in U.S. funding for pro-democracy forces in Iran is part of broader efforts to bring about accountable, democratic governance in the Middle East.
"By supporting democratic change in Iran, we will hasten the day when the people of Iran can determine their own future and be free to choose their own leaders. Freedom in the Middle East requires freedom for the Iranian people and America looks forward to the day when our nation can be the closest of friends with a free and democratic Iran," he said.
The president says Washington will use the $75 million to increase radio and television broadcasts to the country while supporting reformers, dissidents, and human rights activists.
It will also fund more student exchanges, which Mr. Bush says will build what he calls more bridges of understanding and expose more Iranians to life in a free society.