ahmadinejad smiley wave 248 88 ap.
(photo credit: AP [file])
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called on the US to choose between Israel and Iran on Tuesday night, according to Iranian state media.
Speaking in Istanbul at the 25th Session of the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation (COMCEC) of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the Iranian president said that it was up to US President Barack Obama to realize his motto of "change".
"The support of both Israel and Iran can't go hand in hand," he was quoted as saying by IRNA. "No change is made unless great choices are made.
"We would welcome the changes, and wait for big and correct decisions to be made... We will clasp any hand that is extended sincerely toward us, but changes should be made in practice."
Addressing the same conference a day earlier, Ahmadinejad said that capitalist excesses caused the global economic meltdown and were un-Islamic, as leaders at a Muslim forum touted their religion's banking system a way to revive battered economies.
He also slammed investments that pay interest, deemed usury by Muslims, and said they had contributed to financial and social problems such as homelessness.
"Usury, which is entrenched in the capitalist system, is perhaps the main reason why the system has gone bankrupt," Ahmadinejad said. "It is a way of accumulating capital without working. Usury, according to the Koran, is fighting with Allah."
Ahmadinejad did not mention Iran's struggling economy, nor did he refer to its dispute with the West over its nuclear activities.
The Islamic forum held its meeting in a plush hotel on the banks of the Bosphorus Strait that divides Istanbul between the Asian and European continents. Syrian President Bashar Assad and President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan were also in attendance.
Meanwhile, Iran's defense minister on Wednesday urged Russia to ignore Israeli pressure against selling the S-300 missile defense system to the Islamic Republic.
"We have a contract with Russia to buy S-300 missiles. I don't think it is right for Russia to be seen in the world as a country which does not fulfill its contractual obligations," AFP quoted Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi as telling the IRNA news agency.
"Russia has to fulfill the contract and not be influenced by Zionist pressure," he added.
Russia signed a contract two years ago to sell the S-300 surface-to-air missiles to Iran but has not made any deliveries or given any explanation for the delay. The United States and Israel strongly oppose the deal because it would significantly boost Iran's air defense capabilities at a time of heightened tension over the country's nuclear program.
On Sunday, a senior Iranian lawmaker warned Russia that its delay in delivering the anti-aircraft missile defense system to Teheran could harm relations between the two countries, state television reported.
"If they do not fulfill their promise, this will be a negative point in relations between the two countries," said Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the head of parliament's national security and foreign policy committee, according to state TV.
The news report quoted Boroujerdi as saying that more delays "will be harmful to Russia since we have many areas of cooperation with them."
AP contributed to this report