Bush's Trip Aimed at Isolating Iran

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates -- U.S. President George W. Bush pursued efforts to isolate Iran among its neighbors Sunday, urging them to help stop Tehran from threatening security.

Iran said "such policies of fooling the people in the region" had already failed.

Speaking in Abu Dhabi, the third stop of his tour of Arab allies, Bush said Shiite Muslim Iran was the world's No. 1 sponsor of terrorism and accused it of undermining peace by supporting the Hezbollah guerrilla group in Lebanon, Palestinian Islamist group Hamas and Shiite militants in Iraq.

"Iran's actions threaten the security of nations everywhere. So the United States is strengthening our longstanding security commitments with our friends in the Gulf and rallying friends around the world to confront this danger before it is too late.

"Iran is today the world's leading state sponsor of terror. It sends hundreds of millions of dollars to extremists around the world while its own people face repression and economic hardship at home," he said in his speech.

Iran said Washington's efforts to isolate Tehran "fell flat."

"We advise them not to pursue such policies of fooling the people in the region," Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini told a news conference. His comments were translated into English by Iran's Press TV satellite station.

The Bush administration has kept up a campaign of rhetoric against Iran, including accusing it of seeking a nuclear capability despite a U.S. intelligence report that concluded Iran had halted its nuclear arms program in 2003.

Bush last year said a nuclear-armed Iran could mean "World War III," and Washington is pushing for a third set of sanctions on Iran for refusing to halt enrichment work, as demand by the United Nations.