Iran denounces Blair speech as "hostile"

Iran denounced British premier Tony Blair's call on Wednesday for an alliance of Muslim countries against Teheran as "hostile," accusing him of fueling tensions in the region. Blair wrapped up a Middle East tour Wednesday with a stark speech in the Gulf city of Dubai, warning that "there is a monumental struggle going on worldwide between those who believe in democracy and moderation, and forces of reaction and extremism." He said the chief foe in the region was the government of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, accusing it of "openly supporting terrorism in Iraq" and trying to stop democracy there and in Lebanon. "We must therefore mobilize our alliance of moderation in the region and outside of it to defeat the extremists," Blair said. Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said Blair's speech was "hostile" and "obvious intervention" in the region's affairs. "The negative and discordant tendencies of Britain, along with the war-mongering and unilateral policies of (US President George W.) Bush and Blair, have been the reason for tension and extremism and the cause of public hatred in the region," Hosseini told the state news agency IRNA.