TRANSCRIPT: Charles Gibson Interviews President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush

PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH: I've done that. You must have not heard it, but we actually did it with Russia. Russia and, has offered to, you know, construct Bushehr, which is fine. I supported Russia and said that not only should you build it, but uh, the major suppliers group will provide the fuel and collect the fuel. And, so Russia and the United States are in concert on that issue. Matter of fact, I said this in a press conference, that it's the sovereign right of Iran to have civilian nuclear power, and I agree, and I believe that.

But the problem is, is that it's, what's dangerous is there desire to learn how to enrich uranium, and, because the enrichment process could lead to a weapon. Let me, if I might, I might want to comment on what I said about World War III. I said, if you want to avoid World War III. And the reason I said that is because I take the words of their leader very seriously when, for example, he says he wants to destroy Israel. And you know, an attack on Israel, as far as I'm concerned, would draw the United States into a very serious conflagration in the Middle East. At least it would under my presidency.

And secondly I think it's very important for our partners who are in the United Nations, for example, to understand that now is the time to work diplomatically to convince the Iranians to change their behavior.

And so, our strategy is clear, and I hope it's, I think it's working. You know the reason why I say that is because, one, there are people at the table that, you know, first were a little, little reluctant, and didn't take the Iranian threat seriously.

Secondly, Iran is beginning to feel a sense of isolation. And thirdly, my rhetoric, by the way, is aimed to the Iranian people, which is, and I'll be glad to repeat it here, which is that you've had a grand history, and a great tradition. Our beef is not with the Iranian people, it is with the government that is, you know, has hidden programs from international inspectors, has made very bellicose statements about how they intend to conduct foreign policy, that is promoting terror through organizations like Hezbollah, that is disrupting young democracies like Iraq and Lebanon, and therefore as a result of the actions of your government, you're becoming isolated, and you can do better.

CHARLES GIBSON: Let me turn to Iraq.


CHARLES GIBSON: You took a lot of doubting and rather skeptical questions about the surge. I'll give you a chance to crow. Do you want to say, I told you so?

PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH: [LAUGHS] No, I don't, because the decision, while it was a tough decision was really studied, and uh, and it was based upon the recommendations of wise military commanders.

CHARLES GIBSON: Don't you take some satisfaction, though, in the fact that the, that the levels of violence have come down so far?

CHARLES GIBSON: Absolutely, primarily because I, you know, I hurt when America loses a soldier anywhere, and it breaks my heart to think about loved ones who will miss a child, or a husband. And having said that, I'm thrilled for the Iraqis that they're beginning to see enough security so that reconciliation is taking place as well as in, as the economy is beginning to move.

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