STRALSUND, Germany – President Bush vowed Thursday to press for a diplomatic solution to the conflict over Iran's nuclear program, saying Tehran was "trying to wait us out" but predicting that "they are going to be sorely mistaken."
"There's no question that this issue can be solved diplomatically," he said at a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a visit to the northern town of Stralsund for talks with a key U.S. ally in the Iran nuclear talks.
"It's really important for Europe to speak with one common voice." Bush said.
The visit comes ahead of the Group of Eight summit in St. Petersburg where Iran, North Korea, and the recent violence in the Middle East will present tough challenges for the assembled leaders.
Bush conceded a diplomatic solution on Iran would be "hard work."
"I truly think they're trying to wait us out, that it's only a matter of time before people lose their nerve," he said. "And I think they are going to be sorely mistaken."
The five veto-wielding members of the U.N. Security Council — Britain, France, Russia, China and the United States — plus Germany have led European efforts to get Iran to stop efforts to enrich uranium. Enriched uranium can be used for power plants or bombs depending on the level of enrichment.
Bush faces a challenge in pushing Russia, whose President Vladimir Putin is hosting the G-8 summit, and China, who both have been opposed imposing sanctions.
"It's important for Angela and myself to work with Vladimir Putin, which we will do at the G-8, to continue to encourage him to join us in saying to Iranians loud and clear we're not kidding, it's a serious issue, the world is united in insisting that you not have a nuclear weapons program."