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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bush Suggests Putin Pressure Iran Via UN

WASHINGTON -- U.S. President George W. Bush has prodded President Vladimir Putin to press Iran, through the United Nations, to suspend verifiably its nuclear enrichment work.

The appeal, made during a telephone call initiated by Bush on Monday, came about a week after Putin visited Tehran, marking the first visit by a Kremlin leader to the Iranian capital since World War II.

Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the U.S. National Security Council, said Putin told Bush that he continued to share U.S. misgivings about Iran's nuclear ambitions and said nothing to indicate that the Kremlin had changed its concern about the prospects of a nuclear-armed Iran.

Bush "reiterated the importance of continuing to apply pressure through the United Nations to insist on verifiable Iranian suspension of its nuclear enrichment activities," Johndroe said.

On a trip to Iran last week for a summit of Caspian Sea nations, Putin warned against any military attack on Iran. "We are saying that no [Caspian] nations should offer their territory to outside powers for aggression or any military action against any of the Caspian states," Putin said.

The five national leaders at the summit signed a declaration that included a similar statement. It was seen as an apparent reflection of Iranian fears that the United States could use Azerbaijan's territory as a staging ground for military strikes in Iran. Azerbaijan in Iran's neighbor to the northwest.

Bush was asked at a news conference last week about that comment and photos that showed apparent camaraderie between Putin and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"What I'm about to tell you is, is that I'm looking forward to getting President Putin's readout from the meeting," Bush said. "The thing I'm interested in is whether or not he continues to harbor the same concerns that I do."

Monday's phone call was their first since Putin returned to Moscow from Tehran.

The two leaders also talked about Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates' recent trip to Moscow for discussions on strategic security issues, including missile defense and the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, which limits deployments of conventional military forces.

Johndroe said Bush and Putin endorsed continued talks by experts to find a way forward on both issues.