Iran is just one intractable problem world leaders will tackle in New York this week. Bush is expected to seek to rally support for his "freedom agenda" in the Middle East, and to paint conflicts there as the clash of extremism and moderation. He is also expected to seek other nations' help in investing in Iraq and supporting its fledgling government as it grapples with sectarian violence.
Additionally, he is likely to urge nations to continue helping shore up the fragile truce in Lebanon and to contain Hezbollah in the aftermath of this summer's conflict between the militant group and Israel. Iran, a Hezbollah sponsor, can make or break the cease-fire.
The continuing violence in Sudan also will be one of the main topics this week at the United Nations, both as an impending crisis and as a test of the world's "responsibility to protect" civilians whose governments have failed them -- a tenet world leaders agreed to at last year's session.
The government in Khartoum has refused to allow U.N. peacekeepers into Darfur to help protect the more than 2 million people who have been displaced during three years of attacks by government-aligned militias.
Human rights groups have warned that a massive Sudanese military campaign to put down rebel groups could cause hundreds of thousands of casualties. The government has said it will take care of its own people, alongside a force of about 7,000 African Union troops due to leave at the end of the month.
China, Russia and Qatar insist the Security Council cannot send peacekeepers to the region without Khartoum's consent. But Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said Monday that the Sudanese ambassador to the U.N. had told her Khartoum would allow the African Union force to extend its stay and expand.
U.S. Ambassador John R. Bolton said he would circulate a resolution today for a vote Thursday on allowing an existing U.N. force in southern Sudan to expand into Darfur. Foreign ministers of Security Council members are expected to attend.
Times staff writers Peter Wallsten in New York and Sebastian Rotella in Paris contributed to this report.