ahmadinejad, hands in ai.
(photo credit: AP [file])
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for a cease-fire in Lebanon and lambasted US policy in the Middle East on Wednesday, saying the United States wanted to "recarve the map" of the region with Israel's help.
In addition to a cease-fire, Ahmadinejad called for talks on the Lebanon crisis without conditions, and demanded Israel compensate the country and apologize for its actions. He also denied US claims that Iran provides military support for Hizbullah, saying it only supports the movement politically and morally.
"We are calling for a cease-fire and ending this war," the Iranian leader told reporters after meetings with Tajik President Emomali Rakhmonov and Afghan President Hamid Karzai during a two-day visit to the Central Asian nation of Tajikistan.
"We are calling on the parties to sit down for talks without any preliminary conditions," he said, adding: "The aggressor should compensate for the damage incurred on Lebanon and apologize before the entire world community."
Ahmadinejad suggested the hostilities fit in with what he called a US effort to influence the future of the Middle East. "The United States wants to recarve the map of the Middle East, acting through Israel. The United States is conducting its international policy through deceit, money and treachery," he said.
In a clear reference to the United States, he also warned against any attempt to attack Iran, which Washington believes is seeking to develop nuclear weapons. The US administration has stressed it wants to resolve the issue through diplomacy but will not rule out any course of action.
"If they attack Iran, they know our country, our people," he said. "They should think better before doing that. We can defend ourselves. Iran is a great world power, which can protect its interests and its integrity. Only silly people would think about attacking Iran."
"Those who say that we provide military support for Hizbullah are lying. That is the way for America to cover up its failures," he said through an interpreter.