http://gdb.rferl.org/B3826E17-5AD4-459E-BEEA-2EF1ACEC4E7D_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/B3826E17-5AD4-459E-BEEA-2EF1ACEC4E7D_mw800_mh600.jpg
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan (left) with Bush prior to the 61st session of the UN General Assembly in New York on September 19 (epa)
September 19, 2006 -- U.S. President George W. Bush called on world nations today to support democratic reforms in the Middle East.
In an address to the United Nations General Assembly, Bush said it was no longer possible for the world to believe that the Middle East is a stable region.
Bush also told the Iranian people that their government is "the greatest obstacle" between them and a future of liberty, prosperity, and warmer ties with the United States. He said the regime in Tehran "must abandon" its alleged nuclear weapons ambitions.
"You deserve an opportunity to determine your own future, an economy that rewards your intelligence and your talents, and a society that allows you to fulfill your tremendous potential," Bush said. "The greatest obstacle to this future is that your rulers have chosen to deny you liberty and to use your nation's resources to fund terrorism and fuel extremism and pursue nuclear weapons."
Bush also told world leaders gathered at UN headquarters in New York that the United States is not waging war against Islam, but that the United States will defend itself against those who pervert Islam to sow death and destruction.
Bush also urged world leaders to quickly send a peacekeeping force to Sudan's Darfur region.
(compiled from agency reports)
THE COMPLETE PICTURE: RFE/RL's complete coverage of controversy surrounding Iran's nuclear program.
An annotated timeline
of Iran's nuclear program.