Bush Calls on Hamas, Iran to Give Up Arms; Foreign Policy a Priority in Annual Speech

Article excerpt


President Bush yesterday called for the disarming of Hamas and Iran, both of which advocate the destruction of Israel, in a foreshadowing of tonight's State of the Union address.

"We will not support a Palestinian government made up of Hamas," Mr. Bush said, in reference to the militant group, after a Cabinet meeting in the White House. "We want to work with a government that is a partner in peace, not a government whose declared intentions might be the destruction of Israel.

"Secondly, this new democracy that's emerging in the Palestinian territories must understand that you can't have a political party that also has got an armed wing to it," he added. "And so, the second half of our message to Hamas is: Get rid of your arms, disavow terrorism."

Mr. Bush also had a message for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has alarmed the West by pushing ahead with plans to enrich uranium.

"The message is: Give up your nuclear weapons ambitions," Mr. Bush told reporters in the Cabinet Room. "Iran ... cannot be trusted with technology that could enable it to develop a nuclear weapon."

U.S. military intervention in Iran is considered unlikely, and Mr. Bush is hoping pro-democracy students and intellectuals will change the country from within.

"We want the people of Iran to be able to live in a free society," he said yesterday. "And so, tomorrow night, I am going to talk about this issue and make clear the policy of the United States."

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Mr. Bush will devote a significant portion of tonight's speech to foreign policy.

As for domestic initiatives, Mr. …