Iran leader says US and Europe face backlash from supporting Israel
WASHINGTON, Aug 13 (AFP) Aug 14, 2006
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused the United States of "blindly supporting" Israel against Hezbollah and President George W. Bush of seeking to "solve everything with bombs", in a television interview broadcast Sunday.
Ahmadinejad again denied seeking a nuclear bomb, questioned the US military presence in Iraq and gave the US network CBS an evasive answer when questioned about an alleged unit of suicide bombers in Iran's Revolutionary Guard.
Commenting on the Israeli-Hezbollah war, the conservative leader said US support for Israel "threatens the future of all peoples, including the American and European peoples.
"So we are asking, why the American government is blindly supporting this murderous regime."
Ahmadinejad has in the past said Israel should be wiped off the map and denied the existence of the Holocaust.
In this interview, he said through a translator that Israel is "a fabricated government" because he said it had been forced upon the Middle East after the Holocaust.
The US administration, Israel's main ally, has repeatedly accused Iran and Syria of giving military and financial support to Hezbollah.
But in the interview, recorded last Tuesday before the UN Security Council ordered a cessation of hostilities, Ahmadinejad said: "Hezbollah is a popular organisation in Lebanon. And they are defending their land."
CBS released excerpts from the interview earlier last week and the full transcript on Sunday.
Ahmadinejad again denied that Iran sought a nuclear bomb but insisted that the United States and its allies would not stop Tehran's nuclear research.
"If Mr Bush thinks that he can stop our progress I have to say that he will be unable to do that."
The UN Security Council passed a resolution on July 31 which gave Iran one month to comply with demands to freeze its uranium enrichment. After that the Security Council could consider sanctions.
Ahmadinejad said Bush and his supporters "want to monopolize energy resources in the world. Because once they have that, they can impose their opinions, points of view, policies on other nations and, of course, line their own pockets."
He added: "Basically we are not looking for-working for the bomb. The problem that President Bush has, is in his mind he wants to solve everything with bombs. The time of the bomb is in the past. It's behind us. Today is the era of thoughts, dialogue, and cultural exchanges."
Ahmadinejad said he was "saddened" that so many people have been killed in Iraq's spiralling unrest but that the United States was to blame because of its failure to assure security despite its huge military presence.
In December the US president called Ahmadinejad an "odd guy". This time the Iranian president took the offensive, criticising Bush for not responding to an 18 page letter sent in June.
"I think that Mr. Bush can be in the service of his own people. He can save the American economy without killing people, without occupation, without threats."
He added: "Those who refuse to accept an invitation to good will not have a good ending or fate."
"His approval rating is dropping every day. Hatred vis-a-vis the president is increasing every day around the world. For a ruler, this is the worst message that he could receive.
"Rulers and heads of government at the end of their office must leave office holding their heads high," Ahmadinejad declared.
Asked if he wanted normal relations with the United States, the Iranian president said the United States would have to change.
"Please look at the makeup of the American administration, the behavior of the American administration. See how they talk down to my nation."
He added: "it is very clear to me they have to change their behaviour and everything will be resolved."
CBS interviewer Mike Wallace asked Ahmadinejad about an alleged special unit of suicide bombers in Iran's revolutionary guard that would be activated if the United States attacked.
"So are you expecting the Americans to threaten us and we sit idly by and watch them with our hands tied," the president replied.
"I do hope that the Americans will give up this practice of threatening other nations so that you are not forced me to ask such questions."All rights reserved. © 2005 Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.