President George W. Bush's Remarks on the Global War on Terror at Kansas State University (Excerpts)

January 23, 2006

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Q What is your position, or would you comment on a long-term strategy with respect to the geopolitical ambitions of China and Iran?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, great question. First, let me start with Iran. I'm deeply concerned about Iran, as should a lot of people be concerned about Iran. I'm concerned, when the country of Iran, their president announces his desire to see that Israel gets destroyed. Israel is our ally. We're committed to the safety of Israel, and it's a commitment we will keep.

Secondly, I'm concerned about a non-transparent society's desire to develop a nuclear weapon. The world cannot be put in a position where we can be blackmailed by a nuclear weapon. I believe it is very important for the Iranian government to hear loud and clear from not only the United States, but also from other nations around the world. I also want the Iranian people to hear loud and clear, and that is, we have no beef with you. We are worried about a government that is not transparent whose aims and objectives are not peaceful. And, therefore, we don't think that you should have the capacity to make a nuclear weapon.

The diplomatic strategy is being led right now by what's called the EU3 -- France, Germany and Great Britain -- and they're doing a good job of keeping together a common message to say to the Iranians that we expect you to adhere to international norm. The next logical step if the Iranians continue not to adhere to international norm or the demands of the free world is to go to the United Nations Security Council.

At the same time, the development of an Iraqi democracy is an important message to people inside of Iran. I told you what I believe. I believe everybody desires to be free. I believe women want to be treated equally. And I think that a message of democracy and freedom in that part of the world will embolden reformers. But this is a serious issue.

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