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Bush: Iran Cannot Gain Nuclear Weapons

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 30, 2006 – The world cannot allow Iran to gain nuclear weapons, President Bush said on CBS's "Face the Nation" program yesterday. He also discussed coalition efforts in Iraq and the terrorist surveillance program.

Worldwide diplomatic efforts are concentrating on getting Iran to end its nuclear program, Bush said. "Our strategy is to present and hold together a united front to say to the Iranians, 'Your designs to have a nuclear weapon or your desire to have the capability of making a nuclear weapon is unacceptable,'" he said.

Bush said the world's message to Iran is to become part of the family of nations and give up nuclear weapons ambitions. Bush said precautions over Iran's nuclear program are necessary because Iran has a "non-transparent government" and because the leader of Iran has openly stated his desire to destroy Israel.

The president de-emphasized any U.S. military option in Iraq but said the option "should be on the table" as a last resort.

Bush also spoke about public support for operations in Iraq. He said it's important to highlight U.S. efforts in Iraq because "people saw death on the TV screens without a sense that we're making progress."

"I needed to say to the people, 'You bet it's tough,'" he said. "The enemy is using their one weapon effectively, which is the destruction of innocent life."

Referring to the terrorist surveillance program, Bush said the question really is to what extent a president during war can exercise authorities to protect the American people. "I made the decision to listen to phone calls of al Qaeda or suspected al Qaeda from outside the country coming in or inside the country going out because the people, our operators, told me that this is one of the best ways to protect the American people," he said.

"It is important that this program go on. I understand the debate, and I understand the need to make sure people discuss and debate whether or not I've got the authority to do it," he said. "But as I told the American people, ... if somebody's talking to al Qaeda inside the United States, we need to know why. And that's what this program is aimed to do."

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