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Bush lists ‘vital’ peace priorities

Reforming Iran and achieving Israeli-Palestinian peace are “vital interests” of the United States in the Middle East, President Bush said.

The White House released key points from a major Middle East policy speech Bush delivered Tuesday afternoon titled “Making America Safer by Defeating Extremists in the Middle East.”

The thrust of the speech to the national convention of the American Legion in Reno, Nev., was the necessity of victory in Iraq. But he also targeted Iran.

“We seek an Iran whose government is accountable to its people instead of to leaders who promote terror and pursue the technology that could be used to develop nuclear weapons,” the point sheet said, listing six “vital interests” for America in the Middle East.

Another vital interest was “to advance a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians to live side by side in peace and security.”

Bush faulted Iran for, among other things, “actively pursuing technology that could be used to develop nuclear weapons” as well as “backing Hezbollah terrorists who are trying to undermine the democratic government of Lebanon” and “funding the terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which murder the innocent, target Israel, and destabilize the Palestinian territories.”

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