Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ahmadinejad slams NATO, denounces U.S. pressure in Middle East

Tehran (CNN)
-- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Saturday slammed NATO's role in Libya and said the United States -- and all other countries -- should stay out of the conflict in Syria.

"We think it is the will of the people that should work and prevail everywhere. Justice, freedom and respect to people -- this is the right of all nations," he said in an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria.

Ahmadinejad said his views on Libya were "not different" following the death Thursday of ousted Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi. He said NATO's military campaign exacerbated the conflict and undermined the sovereignty of the nation.

Ahmadinejad also took aim at the United States, saying the country is "hated" in the Middle East and should keep out of regional affairs, such as in Syria, where a brutal government crackdown on protesters has drawn international ire.

"We should respect independence and sovereignty of all nations everywhere in the world," he said. "We condemn killings and massacre. ... Justice dictates that nobody should kill the other. Nobody has the right to kill others -- neither the government nor the opponents. ... We are going to make greater efforts to encourage both the government of Syria and the other side and all parties to reach an understanding. There should be no interference from outside."

Syria is widely considered Iran's closest ally in the Middle East. Leaders in both countries have been criticized for brutally repressing democratic reform movements at home while supporting violent Islamic extremism abroad.

Blog: Ahmadinejad on Gadhafi, Syria, alleged plot, nuclear weapons and America's role

Ahmadinejad said the United States should realize the "era of colonialism is over" and review its policies, especially when it comes to pressuring the Middle East.

"We have no problems with the people of the United States. We love them," he said, adding that his problem is with the government.

"The United States has become weaker and weaker. And now, they are hated in the region," Ahmadinejad said. The Middle East "should not be influenced by the pressures of the United States."...[Full Article]

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