President Bush says Iran
should face international sanctions, if it ignores a United Nations deadline
for halting nuclear enrichment activities. Mr. Bush spoke after Iran's supreme leader
pledged to continue pursuing nuclear technology.
President Bush says defiance of U.N. Security
Council mandates must not be tolerated. At a White House news conference,
Mr. Bush was asked if he believes the Security Council will promptly take
action to punish Iran, if Tehran fails to comply with an August 31
deadline to stop enriching uranium, material that could be used to build a
The president's reply: "I certainly hope so."
"In order for the U.N. to be effective, there must
be consequences, if people thumb their
at [defy] the United Nations Security Council.
And, we will work with people in the Security Council to achieve that
objective," the president said.
Earlier, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei suggested there
would be no halt in the country's pursuit of nuclear technology.
State-run television quoted the ayatollah as saying that Iran has made
its decision on nuclear matters and, with patience and power, will
continue on its path. He described the United States as one of several
"arrogant powers" pressuring Iran, under what he said is the false belief
that Tehran is pursuing nuclear weapons.
Iran has long insisted its nuclear program is for purely peaceful
purposes, to generate energy for a growing population.
President Bush said he wants the dispute with Iran to be resolved
diplomatically, but said, for that to happen, the international community
must speak to Tehran with one voice.
He added that U.S. concerns over Iran extend beyond its nuclear
program, and include its sponsoring of international terrorism.
"Iran is obviously part of the problem. They sponsor Hezbollah. They
encourage a radical brand of Islam. Imagine how difficult this issue would
be, if Iran had a nuclear weapon," the president said. "And, therefore, it
is up to the international community, including the United States, to work
in concert for effective diplomacy."
The ayatollah's statement could foreshadow Iran's formal response to an
international package of incentives to halt uranium enrichment. Tehran has
pledged to give its answer by Tuesday.