President George W. Bush was recently asked about reports concerning Iran's nuclear program:
"I do want you to know how seriously we take the Iranian nuclear issue. As a matter of fact, it is the cornerstone of our Iranian policy."
Mr. Bush said concern about the "Iranian intention to have a nuclear weapon" is now shared by many:
"If Iran were to have a nuclear weapon, it would be a seriously destabilizing influence in the Middle East. And therefore we have worked to build an international coalition to try to convince the Iranians to give up their weapon, to make it clear that they have choices to make -- whether the choice be isolation, or missed opportunity to grow their economy."
Mr. Bush drew a distinction between the Iranian government and the Iranian people:
"We have no problem, no beef with the Iranian people. We value their history. We value their traditions. But their government is making some choices that will continue to isolate them and deprive them of a better economic future."
"We take the issue very seriously," said President Bush.