Bush claims Iran 'threatens global security'

 

US President George Bush claimed today that Iran is threatening the security of the world, and that the United States and Arab allies must join together to confront the danger "before it's too late."

Mr Bush said Iran funds terrorist extremists, undermines peace in Lebanon, sends arms to the Taliban, seeks to intimidate its neighbors with alarming rhetoric, defies the United Nations and destabilizes the entire region by refusing to be open about its nuclear program.

"Iran is the world's leading state sponsor of terror," Bush said in a speech he delivered about mid-way through his eight-day Mideast trip that began with a renewed push for an Israeli-Palestinian peace pact - an accord he said whose "time has come."

"Iran's actions threaten the security of nations everywhere," Bush said. "So the United States is strengthening our long-standing security commitments with our friends in the Gulf, and rallying friends around the world to confront this danger before it is too late."

The US President lauded democratic reforms in Gulf nations ruled by authoritarian leaders.

"This new era is being built with the understanding that power is a trust that must be exercised with the consent of the governed," Mr Bush insisted.

Mr Bush was speaking at the Emirates Palace, at an opulent, gold-trimmed hotel where a suite goes for $2,450 a night.

Built at a cost of $3 billion, the hotel is a kilometer long from end to end and has a 1.3 kilometer white sand beach - every grain of it imported from Algeria, according to Steven Pike, a spokesman at the US Embassy.

Meanwhile, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) revealed today that Iran has provided information about work to develop an advanced centrifuge able to enrich uranium much faster than the antiquated model it uses now.

"Answering questions about their past nuclear activities is a step, but they still need to suspend their enrichment and reprocessing activity. Another declaration is no substitute for complying with the UN sanctions," White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.