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Bush says Iran faces sanctions if rejects offer

June 20, 2006

Bush says Iran faces sanctions if rejects offer

By Jeremy Pelofsky

KINGS POINT, N.Y. (Reuters) - President George W. Bush said on Monday Iran faces the prospect of U.N. Security Council action and progressively stronger sanctions if it rejects an offer aimed at containing its nuclear program. 

"If Iran's leaders want peace and prosperity and a more hopeful future for their people, they should accept our offer, abandon any ambitions to obtain nuclear weapons, and come into compliance with their international obligations," Bush said. 

U.S. President George W. Bush makes the commencement address at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point in New York, June 19, 2006. (REUTERS/Jason Reed)
He spoke in a commencement speech to the graduating class of the U.S. Merchant Marine a day before heading to Vienna to attend a U.S.-European Union summit. 

A U.S.-backed package of incentives was offered to Iran early this month, and Bush said the United States would join European talks with Iran if it agreed to verifiably suspend its nuclear enrichment program. 

So far Tehran has refused to stop the enrichment while saying the incentives offer was a positive step. 

"Iran's leaders have a clear choice: We hope they will accept our offer and voluntarily suspend these activities so we can work out an agreement that will bring Iran real benefits," Bush said. 

"If Iran's leaders reject our offer, it will result in action before the Security Council, further isolation from the world and progressively stronger political and economic sanctions," he added. 

(Additional reporting by Steve Holland in Washington) 

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