Bush Slams Iran On Its Nuclear Ambitions, Says Iran Flouts Global Norms
President Bush assailed Iran for obstinately posing a nuclear threat while at the same time Iran threatens the continued existence of Israel, two facts that he said should concern the American public deeply.
Bush lashed out at Iran for pushing ahead with its nuclear materials processing program, saying that Iran stands as an outlaw nation violating world protocols, even as it threatens to attack Israel.
“That’s something, obviously, we cannot live with,” Bush said. Iranian leaders “have expressed their desire to be able to enrich uranium, which we believe is a step toward having a nuclear weapons program,” which Bush said he will not countenance. “That, in itself, coupled with their stated foreign policy, is very dangerous for world stability.” Bush added. “They are funders of Hezbollah,” a terrorist group, and “Hezbollah is intent upon battling forces of moderation. [Iran is] a very troubling nation right now.”
The president spoke in a White House press briefing, responding to media questions, after meeting with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan.
As well, Bush lambasted Iran in comments he made at a White House press conference in the briefing room.
His comments came as Iran is developing longer-range missiles, while also processing nuclear materials that Iran claims would go into electrical generating reactors but which Western powers and the United Nations fear would be used to build nuclear weapons.
Iran has fired off missiles in a multiple-launch display, fired a missile from a submerged submarine, and threatened to wipe Israel off the map.
The United States wishes to build a Ground-base Midcourse missile Defense (GMD) system in the Czech Republic (radar) and Poland (interceptors in silos) that could annihilate any missiles launched from Middle Eastern nations such as Iran against targets in Europe.
Russia has opposed the ballistic missile defense plan, harshly attacking it and threatening to aim missiles at Europe, Cold War-style, if the GMD system is built. But Russia also offered to become part of the system, offering to provide a radar for the GMD setup. Pentagon leaders say the Russian radar wouldn’t suffice, lacking sufficient capabilities.
But former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, in an op-ed piece in The Washingon Post, urged the United States to accept the Russian offer, or at least to accord it “detailed exploration.”
Bush said Americans must be concerned in the face of Iranian belligerence, adding that Iran has enunciated a policy that the United States cannot and will not accept.
As far as Iran building the bomb, “this is a government that has proclaimed its desire to build a nuclear weapon,” Bush noted. “This is a government that is in defiance of international accord.”
He added that the United States will attempt to isolate and counter wrongful Iranian actions, stating that “it’s up to Iran to prove to the world that they’re a stabilizing force as opposed to a destabilizing force.”
Bush vowed he would see “an Iran that gives up its weapons ambitions.”
Until that day dawns, “should the American people be concerned about Iran?” Bush demanded. “Yes, we ought to be very concerned about Iran. They’re a destabilizing influence. They are a government that has — its declared policy is very troubling, obviously, when [a top Iranian leader] has announced that the destruction of Israel is part of its foreign policy.”
Iran is “a very troubling nation right now,” Bush said. “Iran can do better.”
His comments suggested that Bush would like to see Iranian people initiate a regime change and sweep their ruling leaders from power.
Bush told Iranians that “you can do better than this current government; you don’t have to be isolated; you don’t have to be in a position where you can’t realize your full economic potential.
“And the United States of America will continue to work with our friends and allies in the [U.N.] Security Council and elsewhere to put you in a position to deny you your rightful place in the world, not because of our intention, because of your government’s intention.”