Bush still wants new United Nations sanctions against Iran
President Bush called on Tehran Wednesday to "come clean" about the scope of its nuclear activities or else face diplomatic isolation. The American leader demanded that Tehran detail its previous program to develop nuclear weapons "which the Iranian regime has yet to acknowledge."
"The Iranians have a strategic choice to make," he said. "They can come clean with the international community about the scope of their nuclear activities, and fully accept the long-standing offer to suspend their enrichment program and come to the table and negotiate, or they can continue on a path of isolation."
Bush disclosed he had consulted with members of his national security team, who gave him a report about what Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley have learned in talks during the past several days with their counterparts in Britain, Germany, France and Russia. "These countries understand that the Iranian nuclear issue is a problem, and continues to be a problem and must be addressed," Bush said.
Backing the U.S. intelligence community, Bush said he appreciated the U.S. intelligence community's work in helping people to understand past and present activities in Iran and helping the administration develop a sound policy. "It is clear from the latest NIE that the Iranian government has more to explain about its nuclear intentions and past actions," Bush said.
His statement Wednesday came a day after a news conference called in part to react to the new information on Iran's nuclear activities.
lso Wednesday, the White House said the United States will continue "actively pushing" for a third, tougher round of United Nations sanctions against Iran. According to the AP, deputy press secretary Tony Fratto said Iran continues to hide information, remains in violation of two U.N. Security Council resolutions, tests ballistic missiles and is enriching uranium. "Anyone who thinks that the threat from Iran has receded or diminished is naive and is not paying attention to the facts," Fratto told reporters.
Fratto disputed Iran's claim that the recent intelligence report about neglecting the development of nuclear arms was a vindication for Tehran. "I think that's absolutely absurd, and Iran should take no comfort or vindication from the NIE," he said.
He rejected calls, since the new report, for the administration to enter into unconditional talks with Iran, something the White House has said it would only do once Tehran stops enriching uranium.
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