Bush: Iran Risks 'World War III'
Outspoken response to a warning from Russia
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2007 10:41 PM CDT
President Bush listens to a reporters question during a press conference, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2007, in the briefing room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – In a cantankerous press conference today, President Bush warned that Iran risks starting World War III if it develops nuclear weapons. His remarks came as reporters sought his reaction to Vladimir Putin's comments, after meeting with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad yesterday, that the West should not only rule out military action against Iran, but stop talking about it, the New York Times reports.

“I told people that if you’re interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon,” President Bush responded. “I take the threat of Iran with a nuclear weapon very seriously." The administration has said it's pursuing diplomatic avenues to halt the development of nuclear weapons in Iran, but has refused to rule out military force.