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U.S. is studying military strike options on Iran
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2006 7:27 pm    Post subject: Iran's desire to have a nuclear weapon is dangerous Reply with quote



US President George W. Bush, seen here at the White House in Washington, said that "Iran's desire to have a nuclear weapon is dangerous" but promised intense diplomatic efforts to find a peaceful solution(AFP/Mandel Ngan)

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/060428/photos_pl_afp/fbdfa45cfed73d164f1aaf2cc696a807
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2006 10:45 pm    Post subject: US Report Calls Iran Under Taazi Occupation "Most Activ Reply with quote

US Report Calls Iran Under Taazi Occupation "Most Active" State Sponsor of Terrorism
By David Gollust
State Department
28 April 2006

http://www.voanews.com/english/2006-04-28-voa54.cfm

A U.S. State Department report issued Friday says Iran remains the world's most active state sponsor of terrorism, and that the Al Qaeda terror organization appears to be weakening. It also said more than 14,000 people were killed in 2005 in global incidents of terrorism.

The death toll of 14,600 from some 11,000 incidents of terrorism, was a more than four-fold increase over the 3,400 fatalities from terrorism reported by the State Department in 2004.

But officials here said the difference came almost entirely from a new way of defining terrorist activity that now, among other things includes, attacks on civilians in Iraq.

The State Department's Special Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Henry Crumpton, told reporters he believes the world was safer than it was during the previous year though a long struggle remains ahead in the global anti-terrorism effort:

"Despite what some may argue is an increase in radicalization, and despite the continued violence we see, there's a growing recognition and a realization among civilized countries and individuals that we've got to bond together," he said. "There's been progress made in multilateral efforts. I think there's been progress made in some of the regional efforts that we've embarked upon, and bilaterally."

Crumpton said Osama Bin Laden's Al Qaeda terror organization remains the most prominent threat to the United States and its allies.

But he said the group's operational control has weakened since its was driven from its Afghan safe haven by the U.S.-led invasion in 2001.

At the same time, he said loosely affiliated terror cells operating locally may be taking the place of the mainline Al Qaeda and are difficult to detect or counter.

The report, mandated by an act of Congress, again listed the same six countries as state sponsors of terrorism, which are subject to sanctions under U.S. law.

They are Iran, Sudan, Libya, Syria, Cuba and North Korea, despite what the report said was significantly better anti-terrorism cooperation by Libya and Sudan.

Iran was said to have remained the most active state sponsor of terrorism.

The U.S. document said Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Ministry of Intelligence and Security were directly involved in supporting and encouraging a variety of groups including Lebanon's Hezbollah and Syrian-based Palestinian factions.

Crumpton said Iran continues to resist demands for the handover of Al Qaeda fugitives, and is apparently lending material support to Iraqi insurgents:

"Tehran has repeatedly refused to bring to justice, publicly identify, or share information about detained senior Al Qaeda members who murdered Americans and others in the 1998 East Africa embassy bombings," added Mr. Crumpton. "Iran encouraged anti-Israeli terrorist activity, rhetorically, operationally and financially. In addition, Iran has provided assistance to anti-coalition forces in Iraq. As the President said earlier this year, some of the most powerful IED's [Improvised Explosive Devices) we're seeing in Iraq today include components that come from Iran."

Though again listing Syria as a terrorism sponsor, the report credited Damascus with efforts to prevent foreign militants from crossing its borders into Iraq.

It also gave favorable mention to several countries including Colombia, the Philippines, Pakistan and Algeria for moving against terrorist safe-havens.

Indonesia was praised for mounting a broad anti-terrorist effort after a second round of bombings in the resort of Bali last year, and for promoting moderate religious theology to blunt radicalization.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2006 4:14 pm    Post subject: Security Council Poised for Iran Replay Reply with quote

Security Council Poised for Iran Replay
By EDITH M. LEDERER, Associated Press Writer
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060429/ap_on_re_mi_ea/un_iran_nuclear_6

UNITED NATIONS - The U.N. Security Council headed for a replay of its divisive debate over Iran's nuclear ambitions, with the United States, Britain and France at odds again with China and Russia. But this time the stakes are higher.

A new report Friday from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, confirmed what diplomats and the world already knew: Iran has refused to stop enriching uranium as the council demanded a month ago.

The council's three veto-wielding Western nations immediately announced plans to introduce a new Security Council resolution next week that would make Iran's compliance with their demands mandatory. To intensify pressure, they want the resolution under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which means it can be enforced through sanctions or military action.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 10:56 am    Post subject: Rice Says Taazi In Iran Playing Games With Offer Reply with quote

Rice Says Taazi In Iran Playing Games With Offer

April 30, 2006
The Associated Press
The Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/30/AR2006043000308.html


WASHINGTON -- The United States rejects Iran's offer to allow a watchdog agency to inspect the country's nuclear facilities and will press ahead for U.N. penalties against Tehran, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Sunday. "They've had plenty of time to cooperate. I think they're playing games," Rice said.

Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad clenches his fist during a public gathering in the city of Abhar, about 120 miles (200 kilometers) west of the capital Tehran, Iran, Friday, April 28, 2006. Ahmadinejad vowed Thursday that no one could make Tehran give up its nuclear technology, and he warned that the United States and its European allies will regret their decision if they "violate the rights of the Iranian nation."

Iran on Saturday offered to allow inspections to resume if the Security Council turned over the dispute to the U.N. nuclear monitor, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

A report from the IAEA confirmed that Iran had successfully produced enriched uranium and defied the Security Council's Friday deadline to stop the process.

Rice said the offer to resume IAEA inspections suggests the Iranians "are indeed somewhat concerned" about actions the Security Council might take to further isolate Iran.

Her remarks contrasted with comments from her predecessor at the State Department, Colin Powell, who said in an interview broadcast Sunday in London that Iran seems to "have pretty much decided they can accept whatever sanctions are coming their way."

Regardless, Rice said the U.S. probably would seek a U.N. resolution that would require Iran to comply with demands that it stop enriching uranium. Rice mentioned a resolution under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which means it can be enforced through penalties or military action.

"The international community's credibility is at stake here," she told ABC's "This Week."

"And we have a choice, too. We can either mean what we say, when we say that Iran must comply, or we can continue to allow Iran to defy."

While the U.S. and its European allies are pushing for possible penalties, Russia and China _ veto-wielding Security Council members _ have opposed the idea.

Iran insists it has no plans to make nuclear weapons and does not need or want them. The United States, Britain and France suspect the program is aimed at producing nuclear warheads.
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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2006 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Iran and the sober-minded left
Mon. 01 May 2006
The Washington Times

TODAY'S EDITORIAL

As the possibility of military action against Iran is being considered, the reactions of politicians and opinion-makers range from mature and thoughtful (increasingly from some on the left) to the surreal and foolish.

In the latter category is European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana, who said over the weekened that no one was even considering military action over Tehran's refusal to halt uranium enrichment. British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has stridently denounced the idea. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar advocates direct U.S.-Iranian talks to resolve the nuclear dispute, and expresses optimism that the two governments will find significant areas of agreement. On Saturday, the official Iranian news agency IRNA reported that Germany's Green Party supports Iran's right to "peaceful" use of nuclear energy and favors direct negotiations between the United States and Iran. The fact that Iran has shown no serious interest in negotiating does not appear to have affected the thinking of ideologues who believe that there is a negotiated solution to virtually every political problem.

The good news, however, is that a growing number of people on the sober-minded political left appear to grasp the reality of the situation: that the crux of the problem is not the Bush administration, which has for nearly three years largely deferred to Europe's unsuccessful diplomatic efforts on Iran. The problem is the behavior of the Iranian government.

Speaking last month at a conference in Kazakhstan, for example, Richard Holbrooke -- a former United States ambassador to the United Nations in the Clinton administration, a diplomatic veteran of the Carter administration and an advisor to Sen. John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign -- said bluntly: "The U.S. is upset at Russia's stance on Iran. I believe Moscow should support Washington against Tehran." Mr. Holbrooke urged his hosts in Kazakhstan to try to persuade Russia and China to help Washington tighten the noose against the Iranian regime, and praised Kazakhstan for relinquishing its nuclear arsenal more than a decade ago. "If Kazakhstan set such a fine example, Iran wants to go to the other way," he lamented.

David Ignatius, a columnist for The Washington Post, is another moderate liberal who appears to have concluded that it is unrealistic to expect the likes of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Iran's supreme leader, the Ayatollah Khamenei, to peacefully give up their quest for atomic weapons. "The United States and its allies talk as if it will be possible to stop the Iranian nuclear program short of war, through a combination of sanctions and diplomatic negotiations," Mr. Ignatius writes. "But the Iranians push ahead, seemingly oblivious, and the ruling mullahs act comtemptuous of the West's threats and blandishments."

Moreover, according to Mr. Ignatius, "Iran's implacability may have been the most important lesson of the three years of 'negotiations' over its nuclear program conducted by three European nations, France, Britain and Germany." In the end, a French official said, it really wasn't a negotiation at all: The EU nations talked, Iran responded, but didn't even bother to offer any counterproposals. Mr. Ahmadinejad also dismissed the concept of U.S.-Iranian talks over Iraq, saying that Coalition forces should simply leave. A large part of the reason why negotiations with Tehran bog down is the very nature of Islamism, reasons Mr. Ignatius: "For a theocratic regime that claims a mandate from God, the very idea of compromise is anathema. Great issues of war and peace will be resolved by God's will, not by human negotiators. Better to lose than to bargain with the devil."

Jonathan Freedland, a columnist for Britain's Guardian newspaper, was strongly opposed to the war that deposed Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein. But according to Mr. Freedland, the combination of Iranian threats to destroy Israel, Mr. Ahmadinejad's messianic talk of a hidden imam and Iran's support for terrorism make the current Iranian regime a much more serious threat to peace than Saddam was. "Iran is led by a man who cannot let a week go by without issuing an annihilationist threat to one of his neighbors," Mr. Freedland writes. "Put it together and it forms an alarming picture: a state galloping towards a nuclear bomb, led by a messianist bent on destroying a nearby nation."

Kenneth Pollack, a Brookings Institution scholar, handled Persian Gulf-related issues for the National Security Council during the Clinton administration. His service in the administration made him very skeptical of the idea of working out some kind of "grand bargain" between Washington and Tehran -- the core of the Clinton administration's efforts to reach an accomodation with the Iranian government. The problem, Mr. Pollack says, is that the Iranians demand in essence that the United States government afford the Iranian government "respect" by never criticizing it for terrorism, torture, persecution of dissidents -- anything. In essence, Tehran is demanding better treatment than we afford our closest allies, a standard that makes compromise impossible.

In short, there are thoughtful people on the political left who understand reality: that it is difficult verging on impossible to negotiate with the people who run Iran today.


http://www.iranfocus.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=7003
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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2006 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Foolish Politicians and Opinion-Makers:

The Washington Times wrote:
In the latter category is European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana, who said over the weekened that no one was even considering military action over Tehran's refusal to halt uranium enrichment. British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has stridently denounced the idea. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar advocates direct U.S.-Iranian talks to resolve the nuclear dispute, and expresses optimism that the two governments will find significant areas of agreement. On Saturday, the official Iranian news agency IRNA reported that Germany's Green Party supports Iran's right to "peaceful" use of nuclear energy and favors direct negotiations between the United States and Iran. The fact that Iran has shown no serious interest in negotiating does not appear to have affected the thinking of ideologues who believe that there is a negotiated solution to virtually every political problem.


Dear Oppie,
Thank you for posting excellent articlse.
Thanks,
Cyrus
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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2006 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Cyrus,

You're welcome. Ignatius' opinion was interesting...maybe you remember my posting a letter I sent him (more than one actually) many months ago around summertime.....gave him a bit of my mind I did, and a little perspective and food for thought on the matter.

Maybe it had an effect....he did personally thank me for it, and was going to check out this site as well as a few others that I'd sent him the links to...
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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2006 4:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The fact that Iran has shown no serious interest in negotiating does not appear to have affected the thinking of ideologues who believe that there is a negotiated solution to virtually every political problem.


Dear Cyrus,

Let me be VERY blunt for a moment.....my long standing consistant opinion is that BY LAW we do NOT negotiate with terrorists or the sponsors of terrorism....period. One does not reward bad behavior.


If it was my call, (and fortunately it isn't) my method of "negotiation" would consist of a single statement, followed by concrete action.

"To the government of Iran, you have 1 hour to decide your fate, and that of the people of Iran. Pack your bags and go back to the mosques, never to participate in politics again, or in 1 hour +1 the entire nation of Iran will be living with 17th century technology for a number of years, and you will be removed from power to preserve global peace and security.
To the people of Iran, please forgive us in advance, your own leaders are to blame for what may soon come to pass, as it is now their decision to make. We will be there to assist the people of Iran as needed in the aftermath of regime change, upon the people's request of the free nations of the world to help you rebuild Persia as you see fit in a manner consistant with international norms of civilized behavior among the family of nations, to rejoin the family of nations in good standing....whole, free and at peace."


This Cyrus, assuming a chapter 7 UN resolution mandating compliance is ignored...as it will be...by this miserable excuse for a government that has oppressed the people of Iran for far too long...and can no longer be tolerated as a global threat by my country or any other.

Giving the regime a choice is a matter of civilized behavior, and knowingly taking the risk they would launch biologicals and other WMD. So 2 hours total is as much notice as I'd give them....before ALL their toys were made non-functional.

Unfortunately, to do that would mean the utter destruction of infrastructure dependant on any type of electric current nation-wide, all at once...but done with minimal loss of life and with massive humanitarian assistance as follow-up, this option would be far better than to wait for the mullahs to start a war that could potentially take 200 million lives, throughout the region and beyond.

As I said before, I'm not known for my subtlty.

The US can change people's circumstances, but they must choose to change their own mindsets....while we may reason with others to change their's, (as with the EU3, Russia and China)....there is no reasoning with a regime that has no concept of rational civilized behavior among nations....nor the intent to be civilized.

One may ask, what is the alternative?

I think this is the question the Iranian people must answer for themselves, with concrete action of their own...you'all know what you need to do to regain your honor and dignity.

Freedom is never free, and can come at a terrible price on occasion.


Best,

Oppie
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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2006 3:04 pm    Post subject: Peres fires off warning along with peace offer to Iran Reply with quote

Peres fires off warning along with peace offer to Iran


http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20060502/en_afp/irannuclearpolitics_060502184302

JERUSALEM (AFP) - Former prime minister and Nobel peace prize laureate Shimon Peres sent Iran a warning of Israel's military might while offering the hand of peace.


"In the depths of the earth, a weapon of mass destruction is being secretly prepared that threatens the world and Israel," said the elder statesman who is regarded as the father of the Jewish state's own nuclear programme.

"We make a peace appeal to the nuclear officials of Iran and urge them to abandon their nuclear intrigues," Peres said in a speech on the eve of his country's independence day.

He added a blunt warning: "Remember that Israel is strong and knows how to defend itself."

A senior Iranian military official warned earlier Tuesday that the Islamic republic would target Israel if it came under US attack over its controversial nuclear programme.

"We have announced that if America gets up to mischief, Israel will be our first target to hit," said Rear Admiral Mohammad Ebrahim Dehqani, quoted by the student news agency ISNA.

Iran's hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for Israel to be wiped off the map.

Turning to the Arab world, Peres, 82, called for the Palestinians "and Arab leaders who have not reached a peace agreement with us to lay down your arms and speak peace with us".
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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2006 3:08 pm    Post subject: Burns Sees Europe Backing Iran Sanctions Reply with quote

Burns Sees Europe Backing Iran Sanctions
By ANGELA CHARLTON, Associated Press Writer
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060502/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iran_nuclear_55


PARIS - A leading U.S. diplomat predicted Tuesday that Europe would agree to sanctions being imposed against Iran over its nuclear program.

An Iranian official, meanwhile, accused the Europeans of bowing to U.S. pressure and reiterated his country's commitment to developing nuclear energy.

U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns, speaking ahead of six-nation talks on Iran's nuclear activities, said he believed European governments will put forward "some form of Chapter 7 resolution" at the United Nations. A resolution under the U.N. Charter's Chapter 7 makes any demands mandatory and allows for the use of sanctions and possibly force if they are not obeyed.

Opinions vary widely among the diplomats meeting Tuesday about how to deal with Iran's refusal to stop enriching uranium despite international pressure.

Burns said the United States favors economic sanctions against Iran and countries that sell it weapons or so-called dual-use technology. China and Russia, which has arms and technology deals with Iran, oppose sanctions or military force and want to focus on diplomatic means.

On Wednesday, the other three countries involved in the talks Britain, France and Germany are expected to introduce the text of a new resolution on Iran before the U.N. Security Council.


Last edited by cyrus on Tue May 02, 2006 9:40 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2006 9:39 pm    Post subject: U.S. says it won't yield on Iran Reply with quote

U.S. says it won't yield on Iran
Bolton: Sanctions to be sought if nuclear development continues

http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/05/02/iran.meeting.bolton/index.html?section=cnn_latest

Tuesday, May 2, 2006; Posted: 8:03 p.m. EDT (00:03 GMT)


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The United States will seek economic sanctions on Iran if the U.N. Security Council does not "fulfill its responsibilities" in pressing the Iranians to suspend its nuclear program, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said Tuesday.

"If we were not successful in getting the extent and scope of the sanctions that we wanted, if we were faced with a veto by one of the permanent members, if for whatever reason the council couldn't fulfill its responsibilities," then the United States would work with other countries to impose sanctions, John Bolton told a U.S. House committee.

Bolton also said that the Iranians have been using the county's oil as leverage with countries, including India, China and Japan, "to protect themselves from this kind of pressure."

Of the five permanent Security Council members with veto power, the United States, Britain and France are expected to back sanctions if Iran refuses to suspend its nuclear program.
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PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2006 11:52 am    Post subject: Bush, Merkel to meet on Iran, Mideast policy Reply with quote

Bush, Merkel to meet on Iran, Mideast policy

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20060503/pl_afp/usgermanyirannuclear_060503144405

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President George W. Bush was to meet at the White House with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, for talks expected to be dominated by the ongoing international crisis over Iran's nuclear program.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan earlier this week said Tehran's nuclear program would figure prominently in talks between the two leaders, and anticipated "a good discussion about this priority."

Merkel's three-day US visit -- her second to this country since coming to office in November -- will also include discussions on the way forward with the Hamas-led Palestinian administration.

"It is really a strategizing session to work through tough issues like Iran and the Middle East," a senior White House official said.

"This is the president's chance to sit down with the chancellor and to strategize on the next steps on a lot of these top-tier issues," the official told reporters.
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PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2006 2:42 am    Post subject: Cheney's Sharp Criticism Miffs Russia Reply with quote

Cheney's Sharp Criticism Miffs Russia
By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent
Thu May 4, 11:06 PM ET

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060505/ap_on_re_eu/cheney_21

VILNIUS, Lithuania - Vice President Dick Cheney on Thursday accused Russia of cracking down on religious and political rights and using its energy reserves as "tools of intimidation or blackmail." It was a hard slap at Vladimir Putin as the United States seeks Russia's cooperation in punishing Iran.

Cheney's criticism some of the administration's toughest language about Russia came just two months before President Bush joins Putin in St. Petersburg for a summit of major industrial powers. Cheney warned that Russia's backsliding could harm Moscow's relations with the United States and Europe.

"Russia has a choice to make. And there is no question that a return to democratic reform in Russia will generate future success for its people and greater respect among fellow nations," the vice president said in remarks to Eastern European leaders who govern in Moscow's enormous shadow.

Russian officials reacted angrily.

"Cheney's speech looks like a provocation and interference in Russia's internal affairs in terms of its content, form and place," former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency. Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin expressed annoyance that Russia had not been invited to the conference of former Soviet republics and allies.

A Russian lawmaker, ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky, dismissed Cheney's comments as "absolutely false accusations." He said Cheney had expressed the opinion "of only part of the U.S. political elite" but not that of Bush.

The White House said Cheney's criticism was a reiteration of concerns expressed by Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
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PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2006 10:08 am    Post subject: Neo-Colonialists Russia, China dig in against West on Iran Reply with quote

The Neocolonialists Russia, China dig in against West on Iran

By Evelyn Leopold
Fri May 5, 8:08 PM ET

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060506/ts_nm/nuclear_iran_un_dc_3

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Russia and China on Friday opposed key provisions in a U.N. draft resolution that orders Iran to curb its nuclear ambitions, making an agreement unlikely before ministers come to New York next week.

Both nations object to the use of Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, used in dozens of Security Council resolutions for peacekeeping missions and other legally-binding actions.

Although Chapter 7 allows for sanctions and even war, a separate resolution is required to specify either step.

Moscow and Beijing, which have veto power, fear too much pressure on Iran would be self-defeating or precipitate an oil crisis. Both worry the United States would use a Chapter 7 resolution to justify military action.

"I think we have serious difficulty with Chapter 7 and the threat to international peace and security. These are the basic ones," China's U.N. ambassador, Wang Guangya, told reporters.
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PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2006 12:56 pm    Post subject: Taazi leader's threats must be taken seriously: Bush Reply with quote

Taazi leader's threats must be taken seriously: Bush

Sun May 7, 6:09 AM ET

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060507/ts_nm/iran_bush_dc_1

Taazi President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's threats to destroy Israel should be taken seriously and suggest he could target other countries as well, President Bush told a German newspaper.

The United States and Europe believe Iran is pursuing an atomic bomb and have reported the country to the U.N. Security Council, which could impose possible sanctions.

"When he says that he wants to destroy Israel, the world needs to take it seriously," Bush said in an interview with German weekly Bild am Sonntag.

"This is a serious threat, aimed at an ally of the United States and Germany. What Ahmadinejad also means is that if he is ready to destroy one country, then he would also be ready to destroy others. This is a threat that needs to be dealt with."

Ahmadinejad has said Israel should be "wiped off the map" and referred to the Holocaust, in which 6 million Jews died at the hands of the Nazis, as a myth.

Because Bild could not immediately furnish English quotes, Bush's comments were translated from the German. The paper said the White House planned to release an authorized English version of the interview on Monday.

While reiterating that all options for stopping Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons were on the table, Bush said he believed a diplomatic solution was possible if the international community worked hard and remained united.

"Iran represents a challenge. And I want your readers to know that I want and believe that we can solve this diplomatically," Bush said.

Tehran says its nuclear program is purely for peaceful energy purposes. On Sunday, it said any punitive measures taken by the Security Council risked stoking confrontation and damaging chances for cooperation.

Bush, who held talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel in the White House last week, called the German leader a key partner in the international drive to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions.

"Absolutely, absolutely," Bush said, when asked whether he viewed Germany as a "partner in leadership" -- a term used by his father, President George Bush, during the Cold War.

"We are seeing this on the Iran question. Chancellor Merkel has been strong so far. It is very important that the Iranians know that Germany is working with others to send Tehran a clear message."

Bush also said he understood Germany's decision not to participate in the Iraq war, which severely strained relations between Washington and Merkel's predecessor Gerhard Schroeder.

"The Germans today simply don't like war -- regardless of where they are on the political spectrum. And I can understand that," Bush said. "There is a generation of people whose lives were thrown into complete disarray by a horrible war."
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