Warning that "time was of essence" in the Iranian nuclear dispute, President George W Bush has said the US shall have to seriously pursue the issue of sanctions against the country as he believes Tehran was trying to stall and buy time.
"I'm concerned that Iran is trying to stall, and trying to buy time, and therefore it seems like a smart policy is to push this issue along as hard as we can and we are..." Bush said in an interview to CNN on Wednesday.
After returning to Washington from the United Nations General Assembly, where he did not have a personal meeting with the Iranian President, Bush said, "... Time is of essence, and that's why here at the United Nations I spoke with our allies.
"Condi Rice (US Secretary of State) met last night with foreign ministers of the EU3 and Russia, and I think China was there as well, urging them to follow through on the resolution we got passed at the United Nations Security Council."
The US President said he takes the utterances of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seriously.
"Absolutely I take him seriously, just like I take Al-Qaeda seriously when they say they're going to attack us again, just like I take these extremists seriously when they say they're trying to disrupt democracy."
He refused to get into a timeline for resolution of the Iranian nuclear impasse partly on the grounds that he did not wish to get into intelligence aspects of the subject.
Asked why it would be so bad for Iran to have a nuclear weapon when India, Pakistan and Israel had them Bush replied that Iran promotes militias like the Hezbollah to create instability.
"…At an important moment in these negotiations with the EU3 and Iran, we made it clear we would come to the table, but we would come to the table only if they verifiably suspended their enrichment programme.
"And the reason that's important, that they verifiably suspend, is because we don't want them to have the technologies necessary to be able to build a nuclear weapon," he added.
"A nuclear weapon in the hands of Iran in the middle of the Middle East would be a very destabilising and a troubling occurrence," Bush maintained.
"This Iranian regime has made it abundantly clear that they would like to destroy Israel, who is our ally," Bush said adding that one would have to take everybody's word seriously in this world.
In the wide-ranging interview with CNN's 'Situation Room' with Wolf Blitzer broadcast nationally, Bush defended his invasion of Iraq and disputed the perception in some quarters that the country is sliding down to civil war.