Published April 28, 2006
WASHINGTON – President Bush said Friday "the world is united and concerned" about Iran's suspected desire to build nuclear weapons and that he will work with other countries to achieve a diplomatic solution to the crisis.
Bush's statement came shortly after the International Atomic Energy Agency said that Tehran had enriched uranium and that it persists with related activities in its nuclear program in defiance of the U.N. Security Council.
Bush said the IAEA statement was an important statement: "It reminds the nations of the world that there is an ongoing diplomatic effort to convince the Iranians to give up their nuclear weapons ambitions."
He said the world "is united and concerned about their desire to have not only a nuclear weapon but the capacity to make a nuclear weapon or the knowledge to make a nuclear weapon."
Bush said he was not discouraged by Iran's vow to continue despite global pressure. "I think the diplomatic options are just beginning," Bush said during an appearance in the Rose Garden.
Earlier Friday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that no Security Council resolution could make Iran give up its nuclear program.
"The Iranian nation won't give a damn about such useless resolutions," Ahmadinejad told thousands of people in Khorramdareh in northwestern Iran.
Asked if Ahmadinejad was a man with whom he could work, Bush said, "It's going to be his choice eventually."
Bush has refused to rule out the possibility of military action against Iran but he emphasized the pursuit of diplomatic efforts. He said there are clear differences between Iran and Iraq, where the United States led an invasion in 2003 to remove Saddam Hussein.
Bush said Iraq had ignored 16 Security Council resolutions to disarm, had used weapons of mass destruction, was a threat to its neighbor and was shooting at U.S. aircraft conducting overflights.
"There's a difference between the two countries," the president said.
"Iran's desire to have a nuclear weapon is dangerous in my judgment," the president said. He said that diplomacy was his first choice.