President Bush on Wednesday accused Iran of dragging its feet on a Western incentive package aimed at getting Tehran to suspend uranium enrichment activity.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said earlier Wednesday that his country will respond by mid-August to the proposals presented to Tehran in early June by EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana. If Iran accepts the offer, it has to suspend its uranium enrichment -- a process that can produce material for nuclear generators or bombs.
"We'll come to the table when they verifiably suspend. Period," Bush said at an annual U.S.-European Union summit in Vienna.
He said that the mid-August timetable "seems like an awfully long time" to wait for an answer. "It shouldn't take the Iranians that long to analyze what's a reasonable deal," Bush said.
If Tehran suspends enrichment activity, Bush has said that the United States would join negotiations to resolve the nuclear dispute. If Iran rejects the deal, he has warned that it can expect U.N. Security Council action and progressively stronger political and economic sanctions.
Suspending enrichment would be politically difficult step for Iran. Since Iran resumed enrichment this year after a three-year suspension, Ahmadinejad has repeatedly vowed never to halt it again.