September 24, 2008
US President George W. Bush questions Iran’s place in ‘the modern world’, calling for a front to take action against the country.
President Bush, under fire for a major economic crisis at home, in his final address to the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday accused Tehran of ‘continuing to sponsor terrorism’ — without providing any proof.
The Bush administration has long blamed Iran for the violence in Iraq, a country that is under US military occupation. Iran rejects the allegation, saying it only seeks the restoration of security and stability in Iraq.
“A few nations — regimes like Syria and Iran — continue to sponsor terror, yet their numbers are growing fewer and they are growing more isolated from the world,” said Bush.
He added that a nation that supports ‘terrorism has no place in the modern world’, suggesting that the international community should take action against Iran.
Showing no desire for improvement of Tehran-Washington relations, President Bush then raised the issue of the Iranian nuclear program, calling for global support to impose a new round of sanctions against the country.
Amid simmering tensions between the White House and the Kremlin, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said that he would only accept a follow-up to negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, adding that Moscow would block further sanctions on Tehran.
Under US pressure the United Nations Security Council has so far imposed three rounds of economic sanctions against Iran, demanding the country halt its uranium enrichment despite the UN nuclear watchdog confirming the ‘non-diversion’ of Tehran’s existing nuclear activities.
Contrary to the findings of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the US accuses Iran of pursuing nuclear weapons. In its latest report, the IAEA announced that it could not find any ‘components of a nuclear weapon’ or ‘related nuclear physics studies’ in the country.
The Bush administration has long threatened Tehran with war under the pretext that a nuclear-armed country in the Middle East would pose a threat to Israel – the sole possessor of a nuclear arsenal in the region.
Shortly after Bush’s speech, French President Nicolas Sarkozy told the general assembly that Europe supports ‘Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear activities’.
President Sarkozy, however, warned that the European Union would not tolerate a nuclear-armed Iran since it would pose a threat to Israel – which considers Tehran as its top foe.
Iran has repeatedly said that it has no use for an atomic bomb, stressing that weapons of mass destructions have no place in its defensive doctrine.
Tehran also contends that it has never launched an attack or been involved in any act of aggression against any party, rejecting the allegations that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seeks to ‘wipe Israel off the map’.