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A Focused Message For Iran

A Focused Message For Iran
A Focused Message For Iran
U.S. President George Bush says it is important for the United States to work with other nations to send a “focused message” to Iran over its nuclear program: stop uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities or face isolation and economic hardship. At a press conference in Washington, Mr. Bush said, that while “all options are on the table ... the first option of the United States is to solve this problem diplomatically”:

“I’ve also made it clear that you can’t solve a problem diplomatically unless there are other people at the table with you. And that is why we have been pursuing multilateral diplomacy when it comes to convincing the Iranians that the free world is sincere about, you know, insisting that they not have the technologies necessary to develop a nuclear weapon.”

President Bush emphasized that Iran has the right to civilian nuclear energy, and repeated his support for a Russian proposal to supply Iran with enriched uranium, “thereby,” he said, “negating the need for the Iranian regime to enrich at all.”

The United Nations Security Council has passed three rounds of economic sanctions against Iran for failing to comply with its demand that Tehran suspend uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities. The U.S. and the European Union have imposed additional financial and other restrictions.

In a separate press conference, U.S. Navy Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also stressed the need for concerted diplomatic pressure to forge a resolution to the problems posed by the Iranian regime:

“They’re still on a path to get to nuclear weapons, and I think that’s something that needs to be deterred ... They are very involved with Syria, very involved with Hezbollah, supporting Hamas. And so the network that they support is also a very dangerous one and a very destabilizing one ... But I’m convinced a solution still lies in using other elements of national power to change Iranian behavior, including diplomatic, financial and international pressure. There is a need for clarity, even dialogue at some level.”

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has promised to meet her Iranian counterpart at “any time any place” to talk about any issue if the Iranian government complies with the UN Security Council mandate that it halt its uranium enrichment activity.