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A Pattern of Deception
On June 5: "The Iranians are a great people who deserve to chart their own future, but they are denied their liberty by a handful of extremists whose pursuit of nuclear weapons prevents their country from taking its rightful place amongst the thriving."
On June 19, Bush spoke of "consequences to the Iranian government if they continue to pursue a nuclear weapon, such as financial sanctions, or economic sanctions. . . .
"Now, whether or not they abandon their nuclear weapons program, we'll see."
On July 12: "[T]he same regime in Iran that is pursuing nuclear weapons and threatening to wipe Israel off the map is also providing sophisticated IEDs to extremists in Iraq who are using them to kill American soldiers."
On Aug. 6 he said "it's up to Iran to prove to the world that they're a stabilizing force as opposed to a destabilizing force. After all, this is a government that has proclaimed its desire to build a nuclear weapon."
From that point on, he started choosing his words more carefully.
Here he is on Aug. 9: "They have expressed their desire to be able to enrich uranium, which we believe is a step toward having a nuclear weapons program. That, in itself, coupled with their stated foreign policy, is very dangerous for world stability. . . . It's a very troubling nation right now."
But it certainly didn't tame the overall message.
Here he is on Aug. 28: "Iran's active pursuit of technology that could lead to nuclear weapons threatens to put a region already known for instability and violence under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust.
"We seek an Iran whose government is accountable to its people -- instead of to leaders who promote terror and pursue the technology that could be used to develop nuclear weapons."
Oct. 4: "I have made the commitment that I would continue to work with the world to speak with one voice to the Iranians, to the Iranian government, that we will work in ways that we can to make it clear to you that you should not have the know-how on how to make a weapon, because one of the great threats to peace and the world would be if Iranians showed up with a nuclear weapon."
And, of course, here Bush is at his Oct. 17 press conference: