LONDON (AFP) - George W. Bush on Monday wrapped up his final trip to Europe as president, defiant on Iraq, delighted by diplomatic wins on Iran and Afghanistan, and claiming a legacy of multilateral diplomacy. With just seven months left in office, and many Europeans already looking past Bush to his successor, the six-nation swing at times seemed under the spell of a road sign in downtown London: "Changed Priorities Ahead." But the reality is that "developments in international crises do not keep time with the American election calendar," Alexander Skiba, a transatlantic ties expert at the German Council on Foreign Relations, told AFP. Protests were pale shadows of past trips to the continent, with scant numbers in the streets as he toured Slovenia, Germany, Italy, the Vatican, France in some ways the emotional highlight of the trip and Britain. Bush scored public diplomatic victories on Iran, with repeated pledges from European partners, whose countries do heavy trade with the Islamic republic, to tighten sanctions if Tehran refuses to freeze its suspect nuclear program. That pressure is necessary "so that we can solve the problem diplomatically," he said in London. "That's my first choice. Iranians must understand all options are on the table, however." The threat to use force came as Tehran mulled economic and diplomatic rewards for halting its uranium enrichment programme, an offer crafted by Britain, France, and Germany and backed by China, Russia and the United States. Bush, who initially resisted that approach and early on took a hard line on North Korea before embracing six-country efforts to dismantle its nuclear activities, said that the two diplomatic processes were central to his legacy. "One of the things that I will leave behind is a multilateralism to deal with tyrants, so problems can be solved diplomatically," he said. Bush, known to dislike the "small talk in big rooms" of international summitry, has shown a preference for groups of volunteer nations the Iraq war's "coalition of the willing" over institutions like the United Nations. On Afghanistan, the US president delighted in Italy's newly announced steps to lift restrictions on its forces and Britain's surprise announcement that it was sending more troops to help the war-battered country. In Paris, he and President Nicolas Sarkozy calling each other "George" and "Nicolas" celebrated the two-century-old Franco-US alliance and dismissing the bitter rift over Iraq as one of the "nuances" of foreign policy. Calling France "America's first friend," Bush praised his host as "an interesting guy. He is full of energy. He's full of wisdom. He tells me what's on his mind." Sarkozy made an apparent reference to the anti-French campaign in response to Paris's leadership of the international opposition to the war in Iraq. "The American people can be wounded, the people of France can be, too. We must be careful in our relations because of this," he said. Bush also used the trip's keynote speech to acknowledge "my hair is a lot greyer" and to trumpet that his successor in January would inherit "the broadest and most vibrant" translatlantic ties ever. "That was absurd," said Dominique Moisi, of the Paris-based French International Relations Institute (IFRI). "He almost destroyed ties between Europe and the United States, and spent his second term trying to fix the errors he made in his first," which is why "Europeans impatiently await the next president of the United States," he said. Repeatedly prodded to express regret over the US-led invasion of Iraq, he said he was sorry for some of his warlike language but categorically declared: "It was the right thing to do" Bush himself engaged in some wistful public musing about his future out of office writing a book, perhaps and even a received a job offer of sorts during talks in Rome with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Berlusconi said through an interpreter that he was mulling the establishment of a University of Liberal Thinking and added: "I've also invited President Bush to come to act as visiting professor." The prime minister also had the most memorable comment on the US elections, joking that he hoped that Bush's chosen successor, John McCain, wins because then Berlusconi would not be the oldest leader at the annual Group of Eight industrialised countries summit.