Iran Blasts Bush's Speech Accusing Tehran of Funding Terrorist Extremists

Iran's foreign ministry on Monday condemned a speech made by President George W. Bush in which the U.S. leader branded Tehran the leading state-sponsor of terror that threatens the security of the world.

Bush made his speech Sunday in the United Arab Emirates, located about 150 miles (241 kilometers) from Iran, about midway through his eight-day Mideast tour. In his comments, Bush accused Iran of funding terrorist extremists, undermining stability in Lebanon, sending arms to the Taliban and intimidating its neighbors with alarming rhetoric.

In response, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said Bush was trying hide his administration's failures over the past seven years.

"His remarks were an indication of the frustration over his failure in attracting Muslim and Arab countries to support to the Zionist occupier regime, Israel," Hosseini said in a statement, a copy of which was made available to The Associated Press.

"The United States has always tried to continue its devilish intervention in the region by creating imaginary fear among regional countries and tense insecurity in the Persian Gulf," Hosseini said.

Bush's accusations against Iran appeared intended to reassure Arab allies about U.S. readiness to confront Tehran. There have been doubts about Washington's intentions after of a new U.S. intelligence report that said Iran had stopped pursuing nuclear weapons in 2003.