Bush says Iran is not Iraq, diplomacy just starting
* Schroeder happy that US supports EU efforts on Iran
MAINZL: US President George W Bush said on Wednesday diplomatic efforts to rein in Iran’s nuclear efforts were only just beginning and that comparisons with Iraq were wrong.
“It’s vital that the Iranians hear the world speak with one voice.... Iran is not Iraq... We’ve just started the diplomatic efforts,” Bush told a news conference after talks with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.
Offers US help after Iran quake: US President George W Bush offers his condolences for the devastation caused by a powerful earthquake in Iran and is ready to help respond to the disaster, the White House said Wednesday.
“On behalf of the American people, the President expresses his sincere condolences for the loss of life and suffering caused by yesterday’s earthquake,” spokesman Scott McClellan said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with those families and individuals who lost loved ones. The United States stands ready to assist the people of Iran in responding to this tragedy, and we will be in contact with the government of Iran to offer concrete help,” said McClellan.
Rescuers pulled out more bodies Wednesday from the rubble of mountain villages flattened by a the earthquake in the southeast Iranian province of Kerman that claimed some 450 lives and left thousands without shelter in freezing cold and rain. Hundreds of rescue workers and soldiers were searching through the rubble with their bare hands as blocked roads made it impossible for heavy earthmoving equipment to reach some villages.
Meanwhile, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said after meeting George W Bush here Wednesday he was “delighted” that the United States backs EU efforts to persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear enrichment programme.
“There is common ground between the Europeans and the Americans in the objectives,” Schroeder said in a press conference. Neither wanted Iran to develop a nuclear weapon, he added, and he was “delighted that the United States backs the efforts of the European Union”.
Germany, France and Britain are currently negotiating with Iran, offering a package of political and economic benefits in return for it abandoning the enrichment programme, but Washington is impatient with the progress of the talks.
In Tehran, however, Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi said Wednesday that Iran was determined to press ahead with uranium enrichment. agnecies