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Iranian Rhetoric

During Iran's Army Day celebration, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the regime will use the latest technology against the country's perceived enemies and "cut off the hand of any aggressor." Mr. Ahmadinejad's words follow his statement denying the Holocaust, in which six million Jews perished in World War Two. He also questioned the right of the state of Israel to exist.

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack says Mr. Ahmadinejad's remarks are "reprehensible":

"This is the kind of rhetoric, I think, that has only added to the fears and concerns of the international community as it relates to Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons. . . .And I think that the other thing that this rhetoric does is it is an attempt to divert the attention of the Iranian people from the terrible record of this regime in human rights, the terrible record of this regime in terms of the backsliding of democracy in Iran. It's an attempt to divert attention from a stagnating economy."

Mr. McCormack says the Iranian regime "is confronted with choices":

"It is confronted with a basic crossroad's decision. Do they continue the path of confrontation which they are currently on, or do they choose the pathway of diplomacy? Do they choose the pathway of resolving through diplomatic means this issue, the issue of their pursuit of nuclear weapons? We in the international community have sought to build a consensus that sends a strong message to the Iranian government that they will either be further isolated from international community or we can work on a solution."

President George W. Bush says, "Iran is a nation held hostage by a small clerical elite that is isolating and repressing its people, and denying them basic liberties and human rights." And, says Mr. Bush, "As we confront Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions, we're also reaching out to the Iranian people to support their desire to. . . .build a free, democratic, and transparent society.

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.