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thedrifter
04-25-06, 07:58 PM
Rumsfeld Says Success of War in Iraq Key to `Containing' Iran
Bloomberg.com

April 25 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said success in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are key to containing what he said were ``extreme impulses'' coming from Iran, a country he tied to the American-led war on terrorism.

In an interview on the Pentagon's internal television channel Rumsfeld said those who believe the cost of the war in Iraq is too high should consider how failure would ``advance'' the cause of the Iranian government, which the U.S. says is trying to develop nuclear weapons.

``We need to put Iraq and Afghanistan in that context so that those people in our country who are deeply concerned about Iran, which is understandable, recognize that success in Afghanistan and success in Iraq is critical to containing the extreme impulses that we see emanating from Iran,'' Rumsfeld said according a transcript released by the Department of Defense.

President George W. Bush's approval rating, which fell yesterday to a record low in a CNN poll, has declined steadily since the start of 2005 as dissatisfaction with the course of the Iraq war has increased. U.S. military deaths in Iraq this month are nearly double those for March, according to DoD figures.

The U.S. and the European Union are trying to get Iran to suspend its nuclear program, which they say is aimed at building nuclear weapons, a claim the Iranian government denies.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad yesterday rejected a United Nations deadline to suspend Iran's nuclear program, threatening to quit the Non-Proliferation Treaty if the UN doesn't recognize the country's right to nuclear technology.

Comments on Jews

Ahmadinejad also said Israeli Jews should go back to the European countries from which they came, as the exodus was created by World War II belligerent nations, not by the Palestinians.

``The last thing Iran wants is to have successful regimes, representative systems, free people in Afghanistan and Iraq,'' Rumsfeld said in the interview. ``It is harmful to their view of the world, to their extreme view of the world.''

Asked if Iran is ``tied together'' in the War on terror, Rumsfeld replied ``indeed.''

Ahmadinejad has said the country is a peaceful nation, while China and Russia have said Iran's nuclear program isn't a threat to international peace and oppose discussion of sanctions. U.S. President George W. Bush said last week he won't rule out a military attack against Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons.

Mounting tensions over the Islamic nation's nuclear research helped push oil in New York last week to above $75 a barrel. Iran, the world's second-largest holder of oil and gas reserves, wants a ``fair price'' for oil on international markets, Ahmadinejad said yesterday, without elaborating.

Falling Popularity

Bush's popularity is also falling because of the rise in oil prices and because of doubts about the president's honest and trustworthiness, the CNN poll showed.

Thirty-two percent of adults said they approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president, and 60 percent said they disapprove. The CNN poll's findings are in line with other polls released in the past two weeks.

When asked whether Bush is honest and trustworthy, 55 percent said that description doesn't apply, a higher proportion than in previous polls conducted for CNN. Forty percent said the description applied.

U.S. military deaths, including Department of Defense civilian contractors, since the invasion in March 2003, amounted to 2,379 as of April 18, according to a Department of Defense tally. Of those, 1,867 were killed in action and the rest died from accidents or medical reasons not related to fighting.

There were at least 52 U.S. military deaths between March 30 and April 18, compared with 31 between Feb. 27 and March 30, according to Bloomberg calculations based on Department of Defense tallies. Since April 18, seven Marines and soldiers have been killed in action, according to military statements.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Aaron Sheldrick in Tokyo at asheldrick@bloomberg.net;

Ellie