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Bush On Syria And Iran

The following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government:

Syria and Iran have publicly declared an alliance to face what they call "challenges" and "threats." Following the announcement, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said that if Syria and Iran "are talking about the United States. . . .that is a fundamental misreading of the issue." "Both Syria and Iran," said Mr. McClellan, "have international obligations, and they need to abide by the commitments they have made to the international community."

In a news conference, President George W. Bush pointed out the threats that Syria and Iran pose to others and the commitments the two regimes need to fulfill:

"We've talked clearly to Syria about making sure that their territory's not used by former Iraqi Baathists to spread havoc and kill innocent lives. We expect them to find and turn over former Saddam regime supporters and send them back to Iraq. We've made it very clear from the beginning of my administration that Syria should not use its territory to support international terrorist groups. We expect them to adhere to U.N. Security Council resolution 1559, which calls for the removal of troops from Lebanon. And we expect them to help free and fair elections to take place in Lebanon. These are very reasonable requests. They're requests all aimed at making the world more peaceful."

In regard to Iran, Mr. Bush said that "everybody" should be "concerned about whether or not Iran develops a nuclear weapon:"

"The objective is to solve this issue diplomatically, is to work with friends, like we're doing with France, Germany, and Great Britain, to continue making it clear to the Iranians that developing a nuclear weapon will be unacceptable. But clearly, if I was the leader of Israel, and I'd listened to some of the statements by the Iranian ayatollahs that regarded the security of my country, I'd be concerned about Iran having a nuclear weapon as well. And in that Israel is our ally, and in that we've made a very strong commitment to support Israel, we will support Israel if her security is threatened."

President Bush said that "the development [by Iran] of a nuclear weapon is unacceptable; harboring terrorists or providing safe haven for terrorists is unacceptable." The United States, he said, "will continue to work with the international community to make [that] clear."