Bloomberg: President George W. Bush said the U.S. and Russia remain in agreement on preventing Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon, a development that he said would risk “World War III.” By Holly Rosenkrantz and Roger Runningen
Oct. 17 (Bloomberg) — President George W. Bush said the U.S. and Russia remain in agreement on preventing Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon, a development that he said would risk “World War III.”
Bush said he wasn’t concerned by a meeting yesterday between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at which both leaders said they ready to expand ties.
“If Iran had a nuclear weapon, it’d be a dangerous threat to world peace,” Bush said at White House press conference today. “So I’ve told people that if you’re interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested” in preventing Iran from gaining that capability.
Russia, which holds a veto in the United Nations Security Council, is resisting additional sanctions on the Islamic Republic for what the U.S. and its allies say are attempts to build atomic weapons. Iran denies the charge and Russia, which is building a nuclear power plant in southwest Iran, says there’s no evidence the country is seeking to build a bomb.
Bush said that while he and Putin “don’t agree on a lot of issues,” there’s an open exchange between their governments.
Bush said it was “good diplomacy” that Putin and he can tell each other the flaws in their thinking and strategy. “I’ll continue to practice that diplomacy,” he said.
In terms of “whether or not it’s possible to reprogram the basic Russian DNA, which is centralized authority, that’s hard to do,” Bush said.
On Putin’s political ambitions, the president said he asked the Russian leader when they met in Sydney in early September and got no indication. “He was wily, he wouldn’t tip his hand,” Bush said.