Iran has been warned by president Bush and Gordon Brown (photo, from boston.com), to accept their “offers of partnership”, or face tough sanctions and international isolation.
Even though UK prime minister said he wanted to maintain a dialogue with Tehran, he said if Iran ignores UN resolutions, sanctions would be intensified.
Action would be taken by Europe in order to overseas assets of Iran’s biggest bank and also to impose new oil and gas sanctions.
George W. Bush and Gordon Brown were speaking at a press conference, after talks in London, where the US president stopped during his farewell trip through Europe. Even though he dismissed reports saying it would be his last before leaving office.
On Monday, Mr Brown, who became prime minister a year ago, and president Bush, who leaves office in six months’ time, discussed issues such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Burma, Zimbabwe, oil and food prices.
Iran has been accused of not co-operating with the UN over its nuclear programme, amid fears it is enriching uranium to use in weapons.
The Iranians did not have to choose a “path of confrontation”, said UK prime minister. He added that Britain would do “everything possible” to maintain dialogue with Tehran.
He also said if it ignored UN resolutions, they would intensify sanctions and face “further isolation”.
Even though president Bush judged Tehran’s demand for nuclear power for civilian purposes “justifiable”, he said it could be met by Russia’s offer to supply them with fuel.
“You bet you have a sovereign right, absolutely, but you don’t have the trust of those of use who have watched you carefully when it comes to enriching uranium”, he said in a message to Tehran
Britain would urge Europe to impose “further sanctions” on Iran, said Gordon Brown. He also said that Europe would take action to freeze the overseas assets of the country’s biggest bank and impose new sanctions on oil and gas.
Mr Brown has been thanked by president Bush for his “strong statement” and added: “The Iranians must understand that when we come together and speak with one voice we are serious.”
Pressure was necessary to “solve this problem diplomatically”, said Mr Bush, before adding : “Iranians must understand, however, that all options are on the table.”
About Afghanistan, Mr Brown announced that there would be an increase in British troop numbers.
History will judge
A “true friend of Britain” is how Gordon Brown described the US president, while Mr Bush praised UK prime minister for being “tough on terror” and said it was in “all our interests” to help people in Afghanistan and Iraq.
US president also dismissed reports of a split between the UK and US on troop numbers in Iraq as “typical”.
“He’s left more troops in Iraq than initially anticipated and like me, we will be making our decisions based on conditions on the ground … without an artificial timetable.”
History would judge whether the military tactics could have been different in Iraq, said president Bush. Still, he stood by the decision to remove Saddam Hussein as the right one for “our security”, for peace and for 25 million Iraqis.
He said it was important to support democracy “at the heart of the Middle East” : “It’s a democracy that’s not going to look like America, it’s not going to look like Great Britain, but it’s a democracy that will give government responsive to the people”.
It had “absolutely” been worth it, he said, and it would be easier to deal with “the Iranian issue” with democracy in Iraq, which would send a message to reformers and dissidents.
He dismissed the idea that “perhaps freedom is not universal – maybe it’s only western people who can self govern” as “the ultimate form of political elitism”.
Leaving Downing Street after the press conference, George W. Bush and Gordon Brown travelled to Stormont, Belfast, for talks with Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson and his deputy, Martin McGuinness.