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Wednesday, 30 January, 2002, 15:26 GMT
'Suspects' condemn Bush speech
President Bush is applauded by Vice President Dick Cheney and House Speaker Dennis Hastert
Bush: Revival of the economy is a priority
President George W Bush's first State of the Union speech has prompted angry reactions from those singled out as "sponsors of terror" - particularly Iran and Iraq who, along with North Korea, were described as an "axis of evil".

Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said: "With these arrogant remarks, the American Government unmasks its true face and proves its desire to spread its hegemony through the entire world."

Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi
Kharrazi: "Arrogant remarks"
Iraq accused America of practising "state terrorism" against those who did not surrender to US demands.

Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, a Democrat, said he believed Congress would support military action against Iraq, Iran or North Korea.

"We have to do whatever is necessary to prevent the kind of attacks that we saw last fall. If it takes pre-emptive strikes, pre-emptive action, I think Congress is prepared to support it," he told ABC television.

Militant groups singled out in President Bush's first State of the Union address, including the Palestinian Hamas and Islamic Jihad, also rejected his threats that America was prepared to act against them.

'State terrorism'

In his address to Congress and the nation, Mr Bush said his three priorities were to win the war against terror, make America safer from attack, and revive the ailing economy.

President Bush said that America's war against terrorism was far from over, and warned those who were not prepared to heed his call that the US would act.


A terrorist underworld - including groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Jaish-e Mohammad - operates in remote jungles and deserts, and hides in the centres of large cities

President Bush

One of his goals, Mr Bush said, was "to prevent regimes that sponsor terror from threatening America or our friends and allies with weapons of mass destruction."

North Korea, he said, armed itself with missiles and weapons of mass destruction.

While "Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror," he said.

And "Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror."



1. Iraq: Suspected of wanting to pursue programmes to develop nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and missile developments
2. Iran: Listed by US as state sponsor of terrorism. Washington says Tehran plans to develop weapons of mass destruction
3. North Korea: The US's main concern has been missiles and other weapons programmes and willingness to export sensitive technology

See also:
Detailed clickable map

"States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil," Mr Bush said.

In Tehran, Foreign Minister Kharrazi was quick to respond: "Bush's objective is to divert public opinion from events in the Middle East and to prepare American public opinion for continued support for Israel in its repression if the Palestinian people," he said.

Iraq responded in a similar vein.

"The United States is the only country in the world, along with the Zionist entity, to practise state terrorism against peoples and governments that do not surrender to US wishes, under the pretext of fighting the sources of terrorism," Salem al-Qubaissi, head of the parliamentary commission on Arab and international relations told AFP news agency.

Militant rejection

Mr Bush warned that terror training camps existed in at least a dozen countries, but did not name them.

"Thousands of dangerous killers, schooled in the methods of murder, often supported by outlaw regimes, are now spread throughout the world like ticking time bombs," he said.

"A terrorist underworld - including groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Jaish-e Mohammad - operates in remote jungles and deserts, and hides in the centres of large cities."

US marine in Kandahar
War on terror "not over"

Both Hamas and Islamic Jihad rejected Mr Bush's statement and vowed to continue the fight against Israel.

Economic revival

Mr Bush warned Americans that the war on terror would be expensive - but said the US would pay "whatever it costs".

America's concern for security would be reflected in his new budget, he said, announcing the largest increase in defence spending in two decades.

Homeland security needs would also be reflected in the budget, the US president said, as would his proposals for the revival of the economy.

Mr Bush laid out his economic agenda, sounding determined to deflect Democratic Party efforts to blame his policies for economic woes ahead of mid-term congressional elections in November.

"Our budget will run a deficit that will be small and short term so long as Congress restrains spending and acts in a fiscally responsible way," he said.

But there was a way out of recession and a way to create jobs, President Bush said.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Stephen Sackur
"George Bush has set himself a formidable challenge"
The BBC's Jim Muir reports from Tehran
"It is a surprise that President Bush was so hostile towards Iran"
Presidential historian Allan Lichtman
"The American people are ready to follow George Bush wherever he may lead them"
See also:

30 Jan 02 | Americas
Analysis: Bush policy uncertain
30 Jan 02 | Americas
Politics as usual in Washington
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