Bush blames Iran for supporting Hezbollah

ImageAgencies, August 15 – US President George W Bush urged Iran to stop supporting armed groups trying to derail democracies in Iraq and Lebanon.

In a speech on Monday, Bush said the war between Hezbollah and Israel was part of a wider struggle against terrorism.

"The conflict in Lebanon is part of a broader struggle between freedom and terror that is unfolding across the region," he said.

Bush repeatedly blamed Iran and Syria for supporting Hezbollah, saying Tehran must stop supporting fighters in both Iraq and Lebanon.

 "In both these countries, Iran is backing armed groups in the hope of stopping democracy from taking hold," he said.

"Iran has made clear that it seeks the destruction of Israel. We can only imagine how much more dangerous this conflict would be if Iran had the nuclear weapon it seeks."

Civilian violence in Iraq has hurt the President’s popularity at home and Republicans are concerned that anti-war sentiment may damage their bid for Congress in November.

Bush dismissed claims that American policies were to blame for instability in the Middle East. He said the US launched its "freedom agenda" only after September 11 and earlier attacks by Al Qaeda, hostage-taking by militants in Iran, and attacks by Hezbollah.

"The message of this administration is clear. America will stay on the offensive against Al Qaeda. Iran must stop its support for terror and the leaders of these armed groups must make a choice. If they want to participate in the political life of their countries, they must disarm," Bush said.