TEHRAN - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused the West on Monday of fomenting unrest in Syria and across the Arab Middle East to secure Israel's position, state television reported.

Ahmadinejad accused his arch foe the United States and other Western nations of hatching a plot, singling out Tehran's ally Syria which is being rocked by anti-government protests.

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"They want to save the Zionist regime (Israel) by interfering in the region aimed at creating discord among the regional nations and governments," he told a news conference.

"America and the Zionist regime want to weaken Syria's resistance by creating discord between the Syrian government and the Syrian nation," said Ahmadinejad.

Syria, which maintains an anti-Israel alliance with Iran and supports the terror groups Hezbollah and Hamas, has has been hit by growing political unrest, inspired by uprisings that toppled leaders in Egypt and Tunisia.

Iran, which has crushed its own opposition protests at home, has welcomed uprisings in the region as an "Islamic awakening" against despotic rulers.

"The government of Syria and its nation are our friends," said Ahmadinejad. "We think they will resolve their problems with expediency."

Ahmadinejad also rejected as illegal a statement issued by the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on Sunday that "severely condemned Iranian interference in the internal affairs of Bahrain which is in violation of international pacts."


"We attach no legal value to this statement that was issued under political pressure of America and its allies," Ahmadinejad said, adding that he had asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon "to prevent catastrophes happening in the region as occurred in Afghanistan and Iraq".

Ahmadinejad renewed Iran's call on Saudi Arabia to withdraw its troops from Bahrain, a small but important ally of Washington which is home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet.

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