Friday, September 16, 2005

Bush Confident on Iran After Putin Meeting

ABC News:
President Bush said Friday that he's confident that the international community will refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council if it does not account for what the United States contends is a record of nuclear deceit.

"I am confident that the world will see to it that Iran goes to the U.N. Security Council if it does not live up to its agreements," Bush said following a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. "When that referral will happen is a matter of diplomacy and that's what we talked about. We talked about how to deal with this situation diplomatically." READ MORE

Putin said he shared the U.S. goal of an Iran without nuclear arms, but offered no sign that he supported a referral to the Security Council. He also repeated the contention by Iranian leaders disputed by the Bush administration that Tehran has no ambitions for developing a nuclear weapon and instead wants its program for civilian energy use alone.

Putin said that Russia opposes Iran becoming "a nuclear power and will continue to do so in the future under any circumstances."

Working to strike a conciliatory note with Russia, Bush said the two nations generally agree on a need to avert nuclear proliferation by other nations, including North Korea.

"We understand the stakes that people who kill in cold blood, if they have weapons of mass destruction will kill in cold blood on a massive scale," Bush said in the East Room of the White House.

The two, however, disagree over how to address Iran's nuclear programs and have long-running differences over the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq the third member of what Bush called the "axis of evil."

Like Bush, Putin sought to show unity. He said there isn't a wide breech between the two nations about how to quell Iran and North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

"Our positions are very close with the American partners here," Putin said through a translator. "We will continue to coordinate our work."

Bush said he talked with Putin about cooperating in fighting terrorists and the U.S.-Russia economic relationship. He said he would help get negotiations completed to get Russia admitted to the World Trade Organization by the end of the year.