Joint Press Conference with President George W. Bush and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani (Excerpts)

September 13, 2005

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  • Iraq

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Q Mr. President, do you believe at this point that Iran will be referred to the U.N. Security Council to face possible sanctions over its nuclear program? And how will you convince reluctant members like China that this is the way forward?

PRESIDENT BUSH: There is still an IAEA process to go forward. And we will work with our Ambassador at the IAEA, Ambassador Schulte, to continue to press forward with a full disclosure about Iranian intentions so that then the Security Council can make a -- determine the right policy to go forward.

I will bring the subject up with leaders whom I'll be meeting with today and tomorrow and later on this week. I will be speaking candidly about Iran with the -- Hu Jintao, as well as with President Putin, for example. Just had a conversation with Tony Blair and the subject came up.

It is very important for the world to understand that Iran with a nuclear weapon will be incredibly destabilizing. And, therefore, we must work together to prevent them from having the wherewithal to develop a nuclear weapon. It should be a warning to all of us that they have -- in the past, didn't fully disclose their programs, their programs aimed at helping them develop a weapon. They have insisted that they have a civilian nuclear program, and I thought a rational approach to that would be to allow them to receive enriched uranium from a third party under the guise of international inspections that will enable them to have civilian nuclear power without learning how to make a bomb.

Some of us are wondering why they need civilian nuclear power anyway. They're awash with hydrocarbons. Nevertheless, it's a right of a government to want to have a civilian nuclear program. And -- but there ought to be guidelines in which they be allowed to have that civilian nuclear program. And one such guideline would be in such a way that they don't gain the expertise necessary to be able to enrich.

This is a subject of grave concern, and it's something that we're spending a lot of time on in this administration. I want to applaud the Germans and the French and the British for sticking together in developing a common message to the Iranians. And now we'll see how the Iranians respond here on their visit to the United States.

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