Turkey's prime minister said Friday that Iran's president reassured him that Tehran wants a nuclear program only to produce energy, and rejected the notion that Turkey would accept nuclear know-how from its eastern neighbor.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Iran's president on the sidelines of a U.N. summit on Thursday. He said Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told him that Iran wants to be as transparent as possible and is communicating with the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Iran's state news agency had reported Thursday that Ahmadinejad said after the meeting that Tehran is willing to provide other Islamic nations with nuclear technology. That touched off speculation about whether the two discussed that possibility. Erdogan denied that they talked about transferring nuclear technology and said Turkey wouldn't accept the offer anyway.
Iran has repeatedly said it is interested in enrichment only to generate power, but the United States says Tehran wants to create weapons-grade uranium as part of a nuclear arms program -- an accusation repeated Friday by the spokesman for the U.S. mission in Vienna.
In Washington on Friday, President Bush said he's confident the international community will refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council unless Iran accounts for what the United States contends is its record of deceit.
In its report, the Islamic Republic News Agency had said Ahmadinejad also repeated promises that Iran will not pursue nuclear weapons. Erdogan said he had told Ahmadinejad that Iran must be as transparent as possible and stay in touch with the IAEA.
Ahmadinejad was expected to address the U.N. General Assembly at the start of its annual ministerial meeting on Saturday. European officials and diplomats say he may use that speech to offer to put Iran's nuclear activities under broader international supervision.
In another speech Thursday at the summit, Ahmadinejad skirted the issue of Iran's looming confrontation with the United Nations over its nuclear program, although he issued a veiled warning that the body should not bow to U.S. pressure, Newsday reports.