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Iran's leader is 'an odd guy': George Bush

"Iran's got a president that, that, you know, second-guessed the Holocaust and has announced ... The sort of destruction of Israel," said Bush. "He's an odd guy."

india Updated: Dec 17, 2005 21:23 IST

US President George W Bush has predicted that building democracies in Iraq and Afghanistan would embolden reformers in Iran, and he branded the Islamic republic's hardliner president "an odd guy".

"The stakes in Iraq are beyond just making sure that Iraq is not a safe haven for Al-Qaeda," the network behind the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Bush told PBS television in an interview.

"In dealing with Iran, one (of) the real fundamental ways to help encourage the reformers in the country is for there to be two democracies, two new democracies: Afghanistan and Iraq," he said.

Bush also took aim at recent comments by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who unleashed a wave of criticism this week when he described the Holocaust as a "myth" after previously calling for Israel to be "wiped off the map" or moved to Germany or Austria.

"Iran's got a president that, that, you know, second-guessed the Holocaust and has announced ... The sort of destruction of Israel," said Bush. "He's an odd guy."

Bush said Iran "can't deny" that it supports the militant, fundamentalist Hezbollah movement, "which is trying to derail (the) Middle Eastern peace process."

First Published: Dec 17, 2005 05:05 IST