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Ahmadinejad blames US military meddling for market collapse

September 24, 2008

NEW YORK, Sept 23: Iran’s president blamed US military interventions around the world in part for the collapse of global financial markets and said the campaign against his country’s nuclear programme was solely due to the Bush administration “and a couple of their European friends”.

The interviews of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, before his speech to the United Nations on Tuesday, came after the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency warned that he could not determine whether Iran is hiding some nuclear activities.

Last year, thousands rallied at the United Nations to protest Mr Ahmadinejad’s speech. When Mr Ahmadinejad was ushered to the podium of the General Assembly to speak, the US delegation walked out, leaving only a low-ranking note-taker to listen to his speech.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Mr Ahmadinejad said: “Problems do not arise suddenly …US government has made a series of mistakes in the past few decades. The imposition on the US economy of years of heavy military engagement and involvement around the world …the war in Iraq, for example. These are heavy costs imposed on the US economy.

“The world economy can no longer tolerate the budgetary deficit and the financial pressures occurring from markets here in the United States, and by the US government.”

In a separate interview with National Public Radio, Mr Ahmadinejad said he does not want confrontation with the United States. He said he wants diplomatic relations to develop between the two countries and was willing, for example, to cooperate on upholding security in Iraq.

“We do not have confrontations with anyone,” he said. “The US administration interferes, and we defend ourselves.”

According to a report on Tuesday on the website of Iran’s National Public Radio, Mr Ahmadinejad claims that the “people of the world – the majority actually – support our stand”.

The Iranian leader warned over the weekend that the military would strike back against anyone targeting his country’s nuclear facilities.

“If anyone allows himself to commit even a tiny offence against Iran’s legitimate interests, borders and sacred land, our armed forces will break his hand before he pulls the trigger,” Mr Ahmadinejad said during a military parade on Sunday.—AP