Bush said the United States will wait and see whether Iran reconsiders its refusal to give up uranium enrichment. However, he warned that "the best thing for the Iranians to understand is that if they choose not to suspend [uranium enrichment] in a verifiable [way], if they continue their obstinance, if they continue to say to the world, 'We really don't care what your opinion is,' then the world is going to act in concert."
Earlier in the day, Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki had reiterated that Iran will not give up what he called its right to a civilian nuclear program.
The comments from the U.S. president and the Iranian foreign minister come against the backdrop of a major policy shift by Washington. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on May 31 said the United States would join European governments in talks with Iran on its disputed nuclear program -- if it freezes its uranium enrichment activities.
The five permanent UN Security Council members, plus Germany, met in Vienna today to discuss Iran's nuclear ambitions.
(compiled from agency reports)
PRESIDENT TO PRESIDENT: On May 8, the Iranian government announced that President Mahmud Ahmadinejad had sent a letter to U.S. President George W. Bush. The letter was the first direct communication between leaders of the two countries since Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution. RFE/RL has posted the English version of Ahmadinejad's letter that was posted on the Iranian president's website.
"The people will scrutinize our presidencies," AHMADINEJAD wrote. "Did we manage to bring peace, security, and prosperity to our people or insecurity and unemployment? Did we intend to establish justice, or just support special-interest groups and -- by forcing many people to live in poverty and hardship -- make a few people rich and powerful, -- thus trading the approval of the people and the Almighty for [that of those few]? Did we bring the world peace and security or did we raise the specter of intimidation and threats?"...(more)
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