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Bush On Iraq And Iran

Bush On Iraq And Iran
Bush On Iraq And Iran

In a speech reiterating U.S. support for “a free Iraq that can protect its people, support itself economically, and take charge of its own political affairs,” President George W. Bush had a message for Iran:

”The regime in Tehran also has a choice to make. It can live in peace with its neighbor, enjoy strong economic and cultural and religious ties. Or it can continue to arm and train and fund illegal militant groups, which are terrorizing the Iraqi people and turning them against Iran. If Iran makes the right choice, America will encourage a peaceful relationship between Iran and Iraq. Iran makes the wrong choice, America will act to protect our interests, and our troops, and our Iraqi partners.”

Mr. Bush said that a stable, successful, independent Iraq is in the strategic interests of Arab nations and all who desire peace in the Middle East. It is also, he said, in the national interest of the United States:

“Iraq is the convergence point for two of the greatest threats to America in this new century – al-Qaida and Iran. If we fail there, al-Qaida would claim a propaganda victory of colossal proportions. And they could gain safe havens in Iraq from which to attack the United States, our friends, and our allies. Iran would work to fill the vacuum in Iraq, and our failure would embolden its radical leaders and fuel their ambitions to dominate the region.”

On the other hand, said Mr. Bush, if Iraq succeeds in becoming a stable and democratic nation, “it would be a historic blow to the global terrorist movement and a severe setback for Iran. It would demonstrate,” said President Bush, “that mainstream Arabs reject the ideology of al-Qaida, and mainstream Shia reject the ideology of Iran’s radical regime.”