President Bush said today the United States will continue to seek a diplomatic solution to the stalemate over Iran's nuclear program.
But while Bush threw a bouquet to the Iranian people, calling them "good" and "decent" and "honorable," he said their government has been "belligerent, loud, noisy, threatening" in its pursuit of a nuclear weapon.
"All major problems should be solved diplomatically," Bush said in an
Bush's comments came as the European Union agreed today to implement United Nations sanctions on Iran while leaving open the possibility of new negotiations. Iran insists that its nuclear program is meant to generate electricity -- not for making weapons, as many Western nations suspect.
Asked in the 25-minute interview about rumors that the United States is poised to launch an attack against Iran, Bush said: "We've got a comprehensive policy aimed to solve this peacefully. It's typical Washington, where people are out speculating. . . . I do think it makes sense to make it clear to the Iranians, through the international community, that they're isolating themselves. And we'll continue to press hard to do so."
Bush also predicted that the next U.S. president, who will take office in January 2008, will inherit a more stable situation in Iraq, where American troops have been mired in a bloody conflict for almost four years.
Iraq, Bush said, will have a "society . . . that is learning to live with themselves . . . a country that's heading toward more unity, based upon a modern constitution which was approved by the Iraqi people."
"There will be violence. There will be criminality," Bush said. "But [the next president] will also see a country in which the security forces are better equipped and better adapt at dealing with the extremists."
Iraq will also be "an ally in the war on terror" when the next president takes office, Bush said.
As the House debates a resolution that will be critical of Bush's policies in Iraq, the president repeated his warning that a withdrawal of U.S. troops would be perilous.
"A lot of people don't believe we can succeed in Iraq and, therefore, I presume, want to get out," Bush said. "That would be a disastrous course, as far as I'm concerned."
Some members of Congress believe it "makes sense was to withdraw from Baghdad. In other words, just let them fight it out," Bush said. "And some just say we shouldn't be there at all. Either one of those cases, in my judgment, would create chaos, violence and would make it much more difficult for us to have an ally in this war on terror, and much easier for the enemy to promote their hatred."