(AFP) – Oct 18, 2007
TEHRAN (AFP) — Iran shrugged off on Thursday a warning by US President George W. Bush that its nuclear programme could lead to "World War III", saying his remarks only served to show up Washington's failures.
Foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said the "war-mongering" policies of neo-conservatives in the United States had reached a dead end and US officials were merely trying to distract attention from this failure.
"They are using the idea of war to cover up their domestic policies and try to divert attention from their problems," he said in a statement.
Bush warned on Wednesday that Iran must be barred from nuclear weapons after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for Israel to be "wiped from the map."
"I've told people that, if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon," he said.
Abdol Reza Rahmani Fazli, the deputy head of Iran's supreme national security council, said: "These declarations show the anger of the United States against the success of Iran on the international stage.
"The statements by the American president, who claims that Iran is seeking to make an atomic bomb, are part of a psychological war," he added.
Washington accuses Tehran of seeking a nuclear weapon, a charge vehemently denied by the Islamic republic, which insists it wants only to generate electricity for a growing population as fossil fuels run out.
Rahmani Fazli also accused Bush of playing down the importance of Tuesday's visit to Tehran by Russian President Vladimir Putin who backed Iran's right to nuclear energy and emphasised Moscow's differences with the West.
Bush was trying to "cover up the information about Putin's visit and minimise the results of this visit," he said.
The US president said he was looking forward to hearing Putin's "read-out from the meeting" and "whether or not he continues to harbour the same concerns that I do."
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