Iran rejects 'axis of evil' barb
TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Iran's foreign minister has dismissed as unfounded comments by U.S. President George W. Bush that Iran was part of an "axis of evil."
Bush said in his State of the Union address on Tuesday that Iran, Iraq and North Korea were attempting to develop weapons of mass destruction.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran considers these remarks as interference in its internal affairs," Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said, according to the official state news agency IRNA.
Kharrazi also called Bush's comments "arrogant", adding that the president was using the speech to deflect attention from the tense Mideast situation.
"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," he was quoted as saying.
Bush had said the United States would not permit those countries in the "axis of evil" to threaten it with such weapons.
In his State of the Union speech Bush said: "(These regimes) could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred.
"They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States. In any of these cases, the price of indifference would be catastrophic," he said.
"Time is not on our side. I will not wait on events, while dangers gather. I will not stand by, as peril draws closer and closer. The United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons."
Tehran and Washington severed diplomatic ties more than 20 years ago when Iranian students stormed the U.S. embassy in 1979 and took 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.
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