Reuters (with additional material by AP). 30 January 2002. Iran, Iraq,
North Korea Dismiss Bush Accusations.

LONDON and MANILA -- Iran, Iraq and North Korea on Wednesday rejected an
accusation by President Bush that they form an "axis of evil" developing
weapons of mass destruction to threaten America and the world.

Iran said Bush's remarks smacked of a desire for hegemony, Iraq
suggested they presaged a U.S. attack on Baghdad and North Korea saw
them as evidence of a "policy of aggression."

"The world will not accept U.S. hegemony," Iranian Foreign Minister
Kamal Kharrazi retorted Wednesday. "The American president had better
back up his assertions with evidence instead of repeating old and
unfounded claims."

"Bush intends to divert public opinion from the Middle East issue and to
prepare the domestic grounds for continuing his support of Israel in its
brutal oppression of the Palestinian nation," state radio quoted
Kharrazi as saying.

Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, top adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah
Ali Khamenei, ridiculed Bush's remarks.

"It is amazing that Bush, officially and in a combative tone, describes
... Iran, Iraq and North Korea as terrorists," he told a gathering of
journalists from Muslim countries.

"It is possible that Americans will cheer Bush as the congressmen did,
but we will not be threatened by such aggressive language," state
television quoted him as saying.

Bush's remarks appeared to mark a new setback to already flagging
prospects for better U.S.-Iranian ties.

In Baghdad, a senior Iraqi parliamentarian said the U.S. leader was
laying the groundwork for another U.S. assault on Iraq, whose troops
were driven from Kuwait in 1991 by a coalition led by his father, former
president George Bush.

"Little Bush's accusation against Iraq is baseless," Salim al-Qubaisi,
head of the Iraqi parliament's foreign and Arab relations committee,
told Reuters.

"The American administration led by Bush has been threatening Iraq from
time to time to prepare world public opinion for a new aggression
against Iraq," said Qubaisi, who is also a senior official of the ruling
Baath Party.

"But such threats do not scare us, as the Iraqi people are well prepared
to repel any aggression or foolishness by the American-Zionist
administration," he added.

North Korea's official media scoffed at Bush for identifying the country
as a threat.

"The U.S. loudmouthed 'threat' from the DPRK (Democratic People's
Republic of Korea) is sophism intended to justify its military presence
in South Korea and persistently pursue the policy of aggression against
the DPRK," said a newspaper commentary carried by the north Asian
state's official news agency.

South Korean President Kim Dae-jung responded by stressing the
importance of peace with its neighbor.

"It is important to maintain a peaceful atmosphere in North-South
relations," Kim told the cabinet. "Our economic future depends on
North-South relations."

The Philippines, a longtime U.S. ally, bristled Wednesday at President
Bush's warning that if countries do not deal with terrorist activities
on their soil, "America will."

The speech aired in the Philippines as its Congress debated the
constitutionality of exercises with U.S. troops that will open Thursday.

"It's clear in my mind that one president of a friendly country does not
threaten another friendly country," Justice Secretary Hernando Perez
said. "We do seek assistance from them in case of need, but that doesn't
mean they will run the foreign policy of our country."

"Some people would want to interpret it to mean that the U.S. will
impose its will, but we're a self-respecting sovereign state," Defense
Secretary Angelo Reyes said.

Rep. Saturnino Ocampo, a former spokesman for Marxist rebels, said
Bush's statement "exactly portrays the arrogant stance of the U.S. to
justify its unilateral action and intervention in other countries in the
name of fighting terrorism."

Munawaar Hasan, a leader of Pakistan's main fundamentalist
Jamaat-e-Islami party, called America the biggest patron of terrorism
because it supports oppressive regimes.

He said Bush's crackdown on jihad groups will further fuel anger among
Muslims around the world.

"Jihadi groups have been formed in reaction to the state terrorism of
countries like India, Israel, Russia," he said.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Barry Stoller

Reply via email to