Iran criticizes 'failed' US policies ahead of Bush visit

Hosseini: Rather than protecting the region, US policies are just designed to help out Israel.

Bush 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
Bush 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
Iran on Sunday criticized the United States ahead of a historic visit to the Middle East by US President George W. Bush, saying the trip will be an attempt to "compensate America's failed policies" in the region. Bush is scheduled to begin his trip to Israel on Wednesday and will also visit the West Bank, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt as part of his push for a Middle East peace agreement. "The purpose of these repeated trips is to compensate America's failed policies in the region," Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said in a press conference Sunday. Bush said in comments published Saturday that he will work with Mideast allies to develop a security plan to counter Iran during his visit. He did not provide details about the plan, but Arab diplomats told The Associated Press that they expect the US president to offer closer military cooperation with moderate allies in the Persian Gulf, Egypt and Jordan. Bush said Iran remained a threat because it continued to develop missiles that could deliver nuclear weapons and had resisted international demands to suspend uranium enrichment, a process that can produce fuel for a reactor or fissile material for a bomb. Rather than protecting the region, said Hosseini, the US policies are just to help out Israel. "None of US policies (in the Middle East) has been successful and won't be successful ... what is being done in the name of (Middle East) peace is a cover to meet the interests of the Zionist regime," he told reporters. Hosseini said the US has also failed to isolate Iran. "They (US) have never been successful (in isolating Iran). Regional countries have ignored their propaganda and are strengthening their ties with Iran," he said. Hosseini also echoed earlier comments by the country's supreme leader saying that Iran has no immediate plans to normalize relations with the United States. "Given continuation of hostile policies of the United States against Iran, we have no plans for normalization of relations with America. This issue is not in our agenda," he said. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Thursday that he was willing to restore diplomatic relations with the United States but doing so now would make Iran more vulnerable to US espionage. Khamenei, who has the final say on all state matters, said Iran never said the severed relations were forever and that he would be the "first one to support" resumption of diplomatic ties with Washington but he believed doing so now would be "harmful" to Iran's interests. The United States cut diplomatic ties with Iran shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution when militant students seized the US Embassy in Teheran and published sensitive documents they found inside documenting American intelligence-gathering in the country. The embassy, labeled the "Den of Spies," is occasionally open to public as a museum documenting American misdeeds in Iran and the region. The Swiss Embassy in Teheran looks after US interests in Iran, while the Iranians have an interest section in Pakistan's Embassy in Washington. Iran last year claimed it had uncovered spy rings organized by the US and its Western allies and detained four Iranian-Americans, who were later released. The United States is at odds with Teheran over Iran's nuclear program, accusing Teheran of seeking to build nuclear weapons. Teheran has denied the charges saying its nuclear program is merely to generate some 20,000 megawatts of electricity in the next two decades, not to create bombs. The dispute over Iran's nuclear program and US allegations of Iranian support for armed groups in Iraq have further raised tensions. Washington has said it was willing to hold talks with Iran over the issue of diplomatic ties only after Iran halts uranium enrichment, a process that can be used to produce nuclear fuel for reactors producing electricity or build atomic weapons. But the two countries have held three rounds of ambassador-level negotiations on security in Iraq, breaking the 28-year diplomatic freeze. Hosseini said Iran was not opposed to a new round of talks with the US over Iraq's security. "We have no objection to a future round of talks. We have conveyed our views to the Iraqi side and are waiting for a response," he said. Washington's push for a third round of UN sanctions against Iran was undermined by the release of a new US intelligence report in December, saying that Teheran stooped its alleged nuclear weapons program under international pressure in 2003.