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Bush vows to deny Iran nuclear weapons

WASHINGTON, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- U.S. President George Bush reiterated Friday his pledge that the United States would not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon.

"We have made our bottom-line clear. For the safety of our people and the peace of the world, America will not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon," Bush said in remarks prepared for the Saban Forum in Washington.

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Bush said he looks forward to "a Middle East where our friends are strengthened and the extremists are discredited, where economies are open and prosperity is widespread, and where all people enjoy the life of liberty ... ."

The president said the United States is urging Mideast nations "to trust their people with greater freedom of speech, worship, and assembly," as well as advancing economic prosperity, quality healthcare, education and women's rights.

The United States has worked to achieve an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord, including the establishment of two democratic states, Palestine and Israel, "living side-by-side in peace and security," Bush said.

Challenges remain in the region, he said, including state-sponsored terror, Iran's nuclear aspiration and oppressive governments.

"Yet the changes of the past eight years herald the beginning of something historic and new," Bush said. "I believe that the day will come when the map of the Middle East shows a peaceful, secure Israel beside a peaceful and democratic Palestine" and independent countries "bound together by ties of diplomacy, tourism, and trade."

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