Bush: Iran must stop uranium enrichment
President Bush addresses the Iran nuclear issue at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy on Monday.
YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
KINGS POINT, New York (CNN) -- President Bush kept up the diplomatic pressure on Iran on Monday, saying Tehran faces sanctions, not talks, if it doesn't stop uranium enrichment activities.
Bush's comments come three days after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the Western incentives' plan designed to persuade Iran to suspend uranium enrichment was a "step forward" and that his country would "carefully consider" it.
Ahmadinejad said an Iranian response to the package would come in "due time."
But Bush stayed on the offensive Monday in a keynote address to graduates of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. He said talks could begin "as soon as Iran suspends enrichment and reprocessing activities" but added that the policies of Iran's leaders threaten global security. (Watch Bush keep the pressure on Iran --3:08)
The U.S. president accused Iran's leaders of sponsoring terrorism and denying liberty and human rights to its people and threatening the existence of Israel.
"Nuclear weapons in the hands of this regime would be a grave threat to people everywhere," he said.
"We hope [Iran] will accept our offer and voluntarily suspend these activities so we can work out an agreement that will bring Iran real benefits."
But he added, "If Iran's leaders reject our offer, it will result in action before the Security Council, further isolation before the world and progressively strong political and economic sanctions."
Bush said the Iranian government should recognize the offer as a "historic opportunity to set their country on a better course."
"If Iran's leaders want peace and prosperity and a more hopeful future for their people, they should accept our offer: Abandon any ambitions to obtain nuclear weapons and come into compliance with their international obligations," he said.
Iran maintains its nuclear program is intended solely for peaceful purposes.
Bush said the United States would support Iranian human rights advocates and civil society organizations and promote student-faculty exchanges "so we can build bridges of understanding between our people."
Toward that end, he said, the United States will spend more than $75 million this year on programs intended to promote openness, including sports, tourism and cultural programs as well as television and radio broadcasts to the people of Iran.
|© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.