WASHINGTON (AP) Emboldened by success in Afghanistan, some lawmakers are beating the drum for quick action to get rid of Iraq”s Saddam Hussein. They take a different view of other nations singled out by President Bush as trouble.

Paul Wong
40-year-old Mohammad Sadeq, who tried to commit suicide, lies in his hospital bed in Mazar-e-Sharif.<br><br>AP PHOTO

Saddam should be removed, and soon, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D – Conn.) said yesterday. “He is a time bomb.”

An Iranian official, speaking for a government also labeled part of an “axis of evil” by Bush, bristled at the president”s threatening language but pledged cooperation in keeping al-Qaida terrorists out of his country.

“What we have experienced in the past couple of weeks has been a great deal of U.S. rhetoric, outright animosity and hostility, that has been put by various U.S. officials against my country,” Javad Zarif, Iran”s deputy foreign minister for international affairs, said on “Fox News Sunday.

But he said al-Qaida terrorists are “enemies” of Iran and if any are found in his country, “we will return them to their own countries or to the government of Afghanistan.”

Bush”s State of the Union speech, lumping Iran, Iraq and North Korea together as an axis threatening international security, continues to resonate through Congress and around the world almost two weeks after its delivery.North Korea called off a visit by a group of former U.S. ambassadors in reaction to Bush”s harsh words, two members of that unofficial delegation said over the weekend.

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