TEHRAN (FNA) Malaysia’s Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on Tuesday rejected US President George W Bush’s description of Iran as the leading state sponsor of terrorism, and said the comment would cause discord.
“Surely this remark will not be well received by Islamic countries and will give rise to polemics among them,” he was quoted as saying by the official Bernama news agency.
“We Malaysians too disagree with the remark,” he said during an official visit to Spain. Malaysia currently chairs the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the world’s largest grouping of Muslim states.
US is at loggerheads with Iran over Tehran’s independent and home-grown nuclear technology. Washington has laid much pressure on Iran to make it give up the most sensitive and advanced part of the technology, which is uranium enrichment, a process used for producing nuclear fuel for power plants.
According to the NPT, Iran is as a signatory entitled to pursue civilian nuclear technology, including uranium enrichment.
Foreign ministers from the permanent members of the UN Security Council as well as Germany are expected to meet in Berlin next Tuesday to iron out differences over new sanctions with most objections coming from Russia and China.
Iran is under two sets of UN Security Council sanctions for its refusal to freeze uranium enrichment even after the peaceful nature of its nuclear programs and activities was proved.
Washington is pushing for additional UN penalties despite a recent report by 16 US intelligence bodies that endorsed the civilian nature of Iran’s programs. Following the US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) and a similar report by the IAEA head in November which praised Iran’s truthfulness about key aspects of its past nuclear activities, Russia and China increased resistance to any further punitive measures by the Security Council.
Tehran says it never worked on atomic weapons and wants to enrich uranium only to produce fuel for reactors that would generate electricity, a claim substantiated by the NIE and IAEA reports.
Not only many Iranian officials, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but also many other world nations have called the UN Security Council pressure unjustified, especially in the wake of recent IAEA reports saying Iran had increased cooperation with the agency.
US President George W. Bush, who finished a tour of the Middle East on Wednesday, has called on his Arab allies to unite against Iran.
But hosting officials of the regional nations dismissed Bush’s allegations, describing Tehran as a good friend of their countries.
Bush’s attempt to rally international pressure against Iran has lost steam due to the IAEA and US intelligence reports.