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Rumsfeld Say Iraq And Afghan Missions Key To Containing Iran

US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Photo courtesy of AFP.
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Apr 25, 2006
US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Monday that the United States must persevere in Iraq and Afghanistan to contain "the extreme impulses that we see emanating from Iran."

Rumsfeld linked the costly and unpopular US efforts to stabilize Iraq and Afghanistan to US concerns about Iran's nuclear program and its regional might, in an interview with the Pentagon's in-house television channel.

He said those who believe that US efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan are too costly or are taking too long need to understand that "success in Afghanistan and success in Iraq is critical to containing the extreme impulses that we see emanating from Iran."

His comments came amid a sharpening diplomatic confrontation over Iran's nuclear program, which Washington insists is aimed at developing atomic weapons.

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad earlier refused calls for a halt to its uranium enrichment program and warned Iran could withdraw from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The United States, meanwhile, said the UN Security Council would consider a draft resolution that would oblige Iran to comply or face possible military action.

Rumsfeld did not allude to military options in the interview, instead portraying US efforts in neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan as a bulwark against Iranian extremism.

"The last thing Iran wants is to have successful regimes, representative systems, free people in Afghanistan and Iraq," he said. "It is harmful to their view of the world, to their extreme view of the world."

"So most people who suggest that the cost is too great or it's taking too long, and we should not stay the course, it seems to me you have to think what it would mean to Iran and how it would advance their cause, and their cause is a cause that is dangerous to the world."

Rumsfeld hailed the end of a four month political impasse over who should be Iraq's next prime minister as "a thrilling accomplishment."

At the same time, he said it was reasonable to expect that insurgents would try to sabotage the seating of a new government under Shiite leader Jawad al-Maliki, who has 30 days to form a cabinet.

"The new ministries named, and then approved by the parliament, will have to begin that difficult task of governing," he said. "It's a difficult assignment and it won't be easy for them."

If Iraq's interior and defense ministers are competent and govern from the center, Rumsfeld said, Iraqi forces will continue to take over responsibility for security.

"As we are able to pass over more responsibility, one would think we would be able to continue reducing down our forces," he said.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Rice Concerned Over Iranian Diplomat In United States
Shannon (AFP) Apr 25, 2006
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Monday that she was worried because the United States had granted a residence permit to a senior official from the Iranian foreign ministry. "It is concerning and I think we were very concerned when we learned about it," Rice said, speaking to journalists in an airplane heading to Europe, ahead of a stopover in Shannon, Ireland.







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