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Bush, Schroeder Exchange Views on Iran's Nuclear Program


June 27, 2005

President Bush, meeting with German leader Gerhard Schroeder, said the development of a nuclear weapon by Iran remains "unacceptable," and urged Germany, France and the United Kingdom, collectively known as the EU-3, to continue their discussions with Iran to curb that country's nuclear program.

jpg Bush and Schroeder

President George W. Bush and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder talk with the media in the Oval Office
Monday, June 27, 2005.
White House photo by Eric Draper

In remarks to the press with the German chancellor at the White House June 27, Bush said, "My message to the chancellor is that we continue working with Great Britain, France and Germany to send a focused, concerted, unified message that says the development of a nuclear weapon is unacceptable and a process which would enable Iran to develop a nuclear weapon is unacceptable."

The Bush administration is concerned that Iran has been pursuing nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian nuclear program, and has accused Tehran of hiding its nuclear activities from the international community.

According to press reports, Iran suspended all of its uranium enrichment-related activities in November 2004 to avoid possible U.N. sanctions, but it said the suspension was temporary. The EU-3 countries have reportedly offered economic concessions if Iran permanently halts all of its uranium-enrichment activities.

Bush expressed his appreciation to Germany and the other countries for their role in the talks "to send a very strong unified message to the Iranians."

Asked if Iran's recent elections were free and fair, the president replied, "It's never free and fair when a group of unelected people get to decide who is on the ballot."

Schroeder said Germany will "continue being tough and firm" with Iran's new government, adding, "the message must stay very crystal clear." He said Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's newly elected president, has said he wants discussions with the EU-3 to continue.

Schroeder said the two leaders had also discussed Germany's bid to secure a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council. He listed a number of German contributions in the international arena, including operations to help stabilize Afghanistan, Iraq and the Balkans. "Since we're doing all these things internationally, we would very much hope that at some point in time, we could also have a right to representation on the Security Council if there were the space," Schroeder said.

On the possibility of enlarging the Security Council beyond the current five permanent members -- United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia and China - Bush said, "We oppose no country's bid for the security council."

The president also said Germany and the United States agree on the need for overall United Nations reform.

"The U.N. also needs broader reform than just the security council," Bush said, calling specifically for management reform and reform of the human rights commission.

Schroeder said he was pleased that the United States does not oppose Germany's presence on the Security Council, and agreed that reform "is duly and urgently needed," even before Security Council memberships can be considered.

Bush described Germany as a strong ally and a friend. "Our agenda is wide-ranging because both countries assume responsibility to help the poor and feed the hungry and help spread freedom and peace," he said.

He also said Germany's contribution to helping to stabilize Iraq "is important."

Schroeder said Germany was one of the first proponents of an Iraqi debt-relief initiative and has been providing "practical hands-on help" to the Iraqis through training programs for local security forces and administrative personnel.

"By now, we've trained a good 1,200 people, about 50 percent of them security staff, and the other 50 percent admin [administrative] advisers that help with the reconstruction of institutions from within," Schroeder said.

"There can be no question [that] a stable and democratic Iraq is in the vested interest of not just Germany but also Europe," he said.



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