"We spent a lot of time on Iran - after all, we're close allies in trying to make sure that the Iranians do not develop a nuclear weapon," Bush said after his Oval Office meetings with Merkel on Wednesday. "We will continue to consult with our partners as to how to achieve adiplomatic solution to this issue."
Other than Merkel's statement that it is crucial to "try to draw as many partners as possible" into the diplomatic efforts, neither leader would deal directly with ways to bring Russia and China alongside the countries moving toward sanctions.
Meanwhile, Western nations circulated a new UN Security Council resolution that could trigger sanctions against Iran unless it abandons uranium enrichment, despite objections from Russia and China.
The West hopes the Security Council will adopt the resolution before foreign ministers convene in New York next Monday, the ambassadors of France and the United States said before a Security Council meeting to discuss the issue.
The resolution stipulates that Iran "shall suspend all enrichment related and reprocessing activities," according to the text presented to the council.
The resolution also calls on Iran to stop construction of a heavy-water reactor. It will seek a report back from the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, on Iran's compliance.
No timeframe has been set for that report but diplomats said the west wants that report no later than early June.