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
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
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
Tensions were raised during the Iranian leader’s meetings with
Tayyeb, who called for Iran to stop interfering in the Gulf states.
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
Regarding Egypt, he said he saw a bright future and an
opportunity for increased economic contacts and exchange between their
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
Reuters and Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.