Bush seeks EU support to stop Iran's nuclear bid

President George Bush met EU leaders today to push for a tougher international stance against Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

He wants Britain, Germany and France to agree on a package of new penalties and incentives aimed at preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Mr Bush and the EU leaders were poised to threaten Iran with further financial sanctions unless it suspends its nuclear enrichment programme and allows the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN’s watchdog group, to verify it.

Mr Bush and the heads of the EU called on Tehran to stop its support for terrorist organisations destabilising the Middle East.

A statement said the US and the EU would work to ensure that “Iranian banks cannot abuse the international banking system to support proliferation and terrorism.”

Iran insists that its nuclear research is for civilian use only but it has defied three sets of Security Council sanctions and continued to enrich uranium, which can generate both nuclear fuel and the material for the core of nuclear warheads.

Iran has also rebuffed attempts by the IAEA to delve into allegations that several Iranian projects appear to represent different components of a nuclear weapons program.

“A mutually satisfactory, negotiated solution remains open to Iran,” the statement said. But the leaders also said that they would fully implement UN sanctions against Iran and were “ready to supplement those sanctions with additional measures.”

The Bush administration has warned that Iran is trying to hide involvement in nuclear proliferation and terrorist activities.

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