CANCUN, Mexico – President Bush offered assistance Friday to earthquake victims in Iran, saying the United States cares about the suffering of the Iranian people even though there are major differences with Tehran about its nuclear program.
The U.S. military provided aid after a devastating quake in southern Iran in 2003. Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman said in Washington there has been no indication of an Iranian request for U.S. military aid, and that none was being provided at this point.
"We, obviously, have our differences with the Iranian government, but we do care about the suffering of Iranian people," Bush said at a news conference with the leaders of Mexico and Canada.
Three strong earthquakes and several aftershocks struck near two industrial centers about 210 miles southwest of Tehran. Officials said at least 66 people were killed and 1,200 others were injured.
Bush emphasized opposition to Iran's nuclear program and said the world was united with Washington.
"There is common agreement that the Iranians should not have a nuclear weapon, the capacity to make a nuclear weapon or the knowledge to make a nuclear weapon," the president said.
"And the reason there's common agreement is because the Iranian government with such a weapon as it's now constituted would pose a serious threat to world security," Bush added.
He declined to say whether the United States would seek sanctions against Iran. Bush did note that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was in Europe trying to build a consensus with allies on the next steps.