Bush cites Iran as `primary sponsor of global terror'

GEORGE BUSH'S State of the Union address, the first of his second term, was a familiar mix - the litany of sweeping goals at home and abroad, the inconvenient truths glossed over or omitted, the whole presented with astonishing self-belief.

On the domestic front, Mr Bush set out in some detail for the first time his plans to part-privatise social security - the biggest overhaul of America's most-venerated welfare programme since it was signed into law by Franklin Roosevelt exactly 70 years ago.

Abroad, he was more specific on the grand theme of spreading freedom across the Middle East, first set out in his inaugural address last month. He chastised Iran as the "primary state sponsor of terror" and promised Iranian reformists the backing of the US: "As you stand for your own liberty, America stands with you."

Syria was given a similar stern warning to "end all support for terror and open the door for freedom". Mr Bush also urged Egypt and Saudi Arabia - US allies which have previously had a virtual free pass on their internal repression - to do more to foster democracy.

As usual, the President was well served by his speech writers and stage managers of ceremony. State of the Union addresses now regularly use special presidential guests to illustrate grand themes. But this year's was especially emotional, the tearful embrace in the VIP gallery between the parents of a US Marine killed in Iraq, and an Iraqi woman who took part in Sunday's election, 11 years after her own father was murdered by Saddam Hussein's intelligence services.

In the audience below, many Republican senators and congressmen pointed their fingers, carrying the purple ink stains used to mark Iraqis when they cast their vote at the weekend.

But now comes the hard part for Mr Bush - to bridge the gap between soaring rhetoric and awkward realities that do not conform with the grand vision, and the race to turn proposals into law within 18 months, before the 2006 mid-term election campaign. After that, even this most confident and determined of presidents will be treated as a lame duck.

Iranian leaders reacted with fury to the speech because it picked out Tehran as a sponsor of terrorism. But, as Iran prepares for presidential elections in June, the signs are clear the favourite, the former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, may be preparing the ground for rapprochement with the US.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader said: "The Islamic Republic of Iran, because of supporting the oppressed and confronting oppressors, is being attacked by the global tyrants." But allies of Mr Rafsanjani say the former president may be planning to seek a "grand bargain" with the US, offering concessions on Tehran's nuclear programme, terrorism and Iraq if he wins the election.

Meanwhile, the US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, said yesterday he has not decided whether to attend the prestigious Munich Conference on Security Policy next week in Germany, where he might be subject to arrest on a war-crimes complaint. "I have not made a final decision on that ," he said. "And there are several factors." CNN television also reported that Mr Rumsfeld had twice submitted his resignation to President Bush during the Abu Ghraib scandal last spring.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
techYahoo Japan launches service to delete your files and email your relatives when you die
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
Life and Style
Dale Bolinger arranged to meet the girl via a fetish website
life
Property
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C++ Software Developer / Image Processing / 3D Visualisation

£45,000 to £55,000: IT Connections Ltd: C++ Software Developer / Image Process...

Java / J2EE Developer / Agile / Linux

£30,000 to £40,000: IT Connections Ltd: Java / J2EE Developer / Agile / Linux ...

Software Development Manager / Java / J2EE

£45,000 to £55,000: IT Connections Ltd: Software Development Manager / Java / ...

Digital Content Manager,Leicester

£24000 - £28000 per annum: Charter Selection: Leading Nationwide and important...

Day In a Page

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor