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Ahmadinejad: Iran is already a nuclear power
By ARIEL BEN SOLOMON
02/06/2013
Iranian president says Tehran has achieved nuke capability, but adds he is uninterested in attacking the "Zionist entity."
 
Iran already has nuclear capabilities but is not planning to attack Israel, because Tehran’s capabilities are “defensive-oriented,” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in an interview published on Wednesday in the Egyptian media.

Ahmadinejad arrived in Egypt on Tuesday on the first trip by an Iranian head of state there since the 1979 revolution, underlining the thaw in relations since Egyptians elected an Islamist head of state last year. His visit to Cairo is for an Islamic summit that began on Wednesday.

The world must now relate to Iran as an atomic power, as it is “now a nuclear state,” Ahmadinejad told Al-Ahram.

“We disagree with the occupation and discrimination and massacres against the people,” he said. “Zionists are playing a special role in deceiving the world and they know what they are doing in the US and Europe. They are taking over the places of wealth, money and politics in deceiving the world, and strive to dominate all of these sectors through the destruction of cultures, economies and wars.”

Ahmadinejad also expressed opposition to any interference in Syria, Mali or any other place.

Meanwhile, the Saudi paper Al-Madina reported that he threatened to withdraw from a press conference on Tuesday over differences with al-Azhar’s Sheikh Hassan al-Shafi, who is an adviser to the Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayyeb. Tayyeb was appointed by then-Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in 2010.

Tensions were raised during the Iranian leader’s meetings with Tayyeb, who called for Iran to stop interfering in the Gulf states.

In the interview, Ahmadinejad complimented Egypt over its historical importance and called on all participants in the conference to come to an agreement on regional issues, implying that the conflict in Syria should be resolved politically. Iran is concerned that Bashar Assad’s overthrow would bring a new regime to power, which would break its long-term strategic alliance with the country.

Regarding Egypt, he said he saw a bright future and an opportunity for increased economic contacts and exchange between their countries.

Commenting on the French intervention in Mali, Ahmadinejad called the French “colonialists” who were only looking after “their own interests, not the people.”

Back in Iran, an ally of the president was released from prison in an ongoing political standoff with an opposing faction made up of the prominent family of Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani.

Reuters and Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.
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