Reuters: U.S. President George W. Bush in 2002 branded Iraq, Iran and North Korea part of an "axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world" — and he believes two of them still are, the White House said on Monday.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President George W. Bush in 2002 branded Iraq, Iran and North Korea part of an "axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world" — and he believes two of them still are, the White House said on Monday.
Bush, in his 2002 State of the Union address to the U.S. Congress, accused the three countries of seeking weapons of mass destruction that could be used for attacks on U.S. allies or to blackmail the United States.
The United States led a coalition of forces into Iraq but never found nuclear weapons. North Korea has agreed to give up its atomic program in exchange for aid while Iran has said it is seeking civilian energy, not nuclear weapons.
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino on Monday praised North Korea for its steps, but criticized Iran failing to adequately respond to an offer of incentives in exchange for giving up enrichment of uranium, a component used for atomic weapons.
However, pressed by a reporter whether Bush still believed that they were part of the "axis of evil," Perino said North Korea and Iran were still part of it.
"I think that until they give up their nuclear weapons programs completely and verifiably, I think that we would keep them in the same category," she said.
(Reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky, editing by David Wiessler)