U.S. President George W. Bush said Thursday that newly elected Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will receive a U.S. visa to attend an annual United Nations session in New York City next month, and said he welcomes action by the U.N. nuclear watchdog to warn Iran about consequences of its nuclear ambitions.
Bush, who met at his Texas ranch with members of his foreign policy team, said U.S. investigators have not yet determined what role Ahmadinejad may have played in the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Even so, Bush said, the United States has obligations as the host country of the United Nations, which is headquartered in New York.
Bush spoke to reporters on a day when he played host to his administration's top national security, foreign policy and defense advisers at a time of increasing violence in Iraq and new nuclear worries involving Iran and North Korea.
He also said he understands and respects the views of anti-war advocates like a California mother camped outside his Texas ranch, but said it would be a mistake to bring U.S. troops home now from Iraq.
"I understand the anguish that some feel about the death that takes place," Bush is quoted by the AP as saying.
"I also have heard the voices of those saying: Pull out now. And I've thought about their cry and their sincere desire to reduce the loss of life by pulling our troops out. I just strongly disagree."
Rescuers found the pilot of one of the two Su-34 fighters that had collided in midair in the Far East on January 18