Bush Threatens To Attack
Iran To Protect Israel
Nuclear-Armed Iran Would Be 'Intolerable' - Bush
By David Morgan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A nuclear-armed Iran would pose an intolerable threat to peace in the Middle East and a mortal danger to Israel, President George W. Bush said on Wednesday, adding that any such threat would be "dealt with" by the United States and its allies.
In strongly worded remarks before an audience of newspaper editors and publishers, the Republican president pressed the secretive leadership of the Islamic republic to heed U.S. and European demands not to pursue a nuclear weapons program.
"It would be intolerable to peace and stability in the Middle East if they get a nuclear weapon, particularly since their stated objective is the destruction of Israel," Bush said in answer to a question about international cooperation against militant attacks.
"The development of a nuclear weapon in Iran is intolerable. And a program is intolerable. Otherwise they will be dealt with, starting through the United Nations."
The United States accuses Iran of pursuing a nuclear weapons program, but Tehran says its nuclear ambitions are confined to generating electricity. Washington hard-liners have been pressing for U.N. sanctions against the Islamic state.
The president's remarks come at a time of turmoil for U.S. policy in the Middle East, including Iran's neighbor Iraq, which the United States invaded last year after a stormy U.N. Security Council debate over whether the Arab nation possessed weapons of mass destruction.
No such weapons have been found and deteriorating conditions marked by a heightened insurgency have been followed by troop withdrawal announcements from Spain, Honduras and the Dominican Republic.
Poland, a key U.S. ally in Iraq, has also placed its position under review, while Thailand has said it will withdraw medical and engineering troops if they are attacked. But the White House points to continued support from nations like Britain, Japan, Italy and Portugal as evidence the coalition remains strong.
Meanwhile, Washington is facing a backlash from the Arab world over Bush's decision to endorse Israeli plans to retain Jewish settlements on West Bank land captured during the 1967 Middle East war.
On Wednesday, Bush rejected international criticism and said world leaders should be grateful for what he described as the "chance to begin the construction of a peaceful Palestinian state."



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