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at a Rose Gar­den press con­fer­ence. “It could be a bloody — it could be a very dif­fi­cult Au­gust.”

The pres­i­dent, who was oc­ca­sion­ally de­fen­sive and com­bat­ive dur­ing the hour­long ses­sion, also praised the bi­par­ti­san ef­fort on Capi­tol Hill to send­hi­mawar-fund­ing­billthathecan sign, ap­plaud­ing the re­moval of a time­line for U.S. troop with­drawal. He said he will con­tinue to in­sist that Iraqis make progress on po­lit­i­cal re­forms and se­cu­rity ef­forts.

The bill “re­flects a con­sen­sus that the Iraqi gov­ern­ment needs to show real progress in re­turn for Amer­ica’s con­tin­ued sup­port and sac­ri­fice,” Mr. Bush said.

Depart­ingnextmon­th­formeet­ings with Euro­pean lead­ers, as well as side­line dis­cus­sions with Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Hu Jin­tao and Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin — two op­po­nents to rein­ing in Iran’s nu­clear am­bi­tions — the pres­i­dent said the weakU.N.sanc­tion­sagain­st­then­ation have pro­duced noth­ing.

“We need to strengthen our sanc­tion regime,” he said. “The world has spo­ken and said, you know, ‘No nu­clear weapons pro­grams.’ And yet they’re con­stantly ig­nor­ing the de­mands. [. . .] They con­tinue to be de­fi­ant as to the de­mands of the free world.”

Two rounds of U.N. sanc­tions in the past six months were wa­tered down by Rus­sia and China, and many Euro­pean na­tions have been re­luc­tant to join U.S. ef­forts to halt Iran’s nu­clear am­bi­tions.

Ten­sions have es­ca­lated in the re­gion as Ira­nian Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ah­madine­jad this week vowed to con­tinue ef­forts to en­rich ura­nium. Mean­while, nine U.S. war­ships, in­clud­ing two air­craft car­ri­ers, sailed into the Per­sian Gulf on Wed­nes­day for ma­neu­vers, in part as a show of force to Tehran. The ships, car­ry­ing about 17,000 per­son­nel and 140 air­craft, sailed through the Straits of Hor­muz in day­light, the largest ship move­ment of its kind since the Iraq war be­gan in 2003.

In Lux­em­bourg, In­ter­na­tional Atomic En­ergy Agency head Mo­hamed ElBa­radei said Iran has made sub­stan­tial progress in its en­rich­ment pro­gram and is near­ing the abil­ity of be­ing able to pro­duce nu­clear weapons. He said Tehran could pro­duce an atomic bomb “three to eight years from now.”

Iran, how­ever, shows no signs of re­lent­ing.

“With God’s help, the path to com­pletely en­joy­ing all nu­clear ca­pac­ity is near its end and we are close to the peak,” Mr. Ah­madine­jad said on May 24.

Mr. Bush on May 24 pledged to work with Euro­pean, Rus­sian and Chi­nese lead­ers to im­pose a third, stronger round of U.N. sanc­tions against Iran.

“The first thing that these lead­ers have got to un­der­stand is that an Iran with a nu­clear weapon would be in­cred­i­bly desta­bi­liz­ing for the world. It’s in their in­ter­ests that we work col­lab­o­ra­tively to con­tinue to iso­late that regime,” he said.

John R. Bolton, for­mer U.S. am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions, said the cur­rent sanc­tions are sim­ply not work­ing.

“The ones in place now are weak and wa­tered down. We re­ally need to get our friends in Europe to get se­ri­ous about this mat­ter,” he said on Fox News. “We need a dra­matic ramp-up of the pres­sure, and if we can’t get that quickly from the Euro­peans, un­for­tu­nately, we’re go­ing to have to do some­thing else, like regime change, or, as a last re­sort, the use of force by the United States.”

Mr. Bush said he had di­rected Sec­re­tary of State Con­doleezza Rice to work with Euro­pean part­ners to “de­velop fur­ther sanc­tions.” She has of­fered to meet with her Ira­nian coun­ter­part — to no avail — and on May 28,U.S.Am­bas­sadorRyanC.Crocker will meet with his Ira­nian coun­ter­part in Bagh­dad to dis­cuss ways of sta­bi­liz­ing Iraq. How­ever, the two will not dis­cuss Iran’s nu­clear pro­gram.

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