Ahmadinejad: Zionism has damaged Europe

Iranian president says after "60 years of plundering, aggression, crimes, [Israel] has reached the end."

AhMADinejad 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
AhMADinejad 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said Tuesday his country would continue with its controversial nuclear program, but rejected nuclear weapons. Khamenei, who has final say in all matters in Iran, spoke at a ceremony honoring the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. "Iran is after the peaceful use of nuclear energy and we will strongly pursue and reach it despite the envy of our enemies," he said. "No wise nation is interested in making a nuclear weapon since it is not logical and cannot be used," he added. Khamenei also warned against nuclear terrorism, saying that one day "world terrorists could attain nuclear weapons and take peace away from all the people in the world." The Iranian leader also accused the US of using nuclear energy to maintain its dominance over other nations in the world. "Americans, who are leading the opposition to Iran's nuclear energy, are signing nuclear agreements with less advanced countries," which results in their dependency on the US, Khamenei said. He did not elaborate, but the United States has concluded bilateral nuclear cooperation deals with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. The country's supreme leader also said US President George W. Bush and his advisers were acting erratically and "sound mentally ill." "Sometimes they threaten, sometimes they order assassinations...and sometimes they ask for help - it's like mad people staggering to and fro," he said. His comments appeared to be a reaction to claims made on Monday by Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency. ElBaradei told the 35 nations on the agency's board that the Islamic Republic had not provided requested information needed for his investigation of Teheran's alleged work on nuclear weapons. "It is regrettable that we have not made the progress we had hoped for" on the allegations over Iran's nuclear program, he said, adding that the alleged activities "remain a matter of serious concern." The international community's concern was enhanced again by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's comments at Tuesday's UN food agency summit in Rome. According to the Telenews agency, he said Europeans are suffering from the "artificial regime" of Israel. "Europeans have suffered the biggest damage from the Zionists and today the weight of this artificial regime, both political and economic, is on Europe's shoulders," he said. Italian activists, leftist politicians and Jewish groups have already protested against his presence at the summit, saying it was a disgrace to host someone who has repeatedly predicted Israel's disappearance. Incoming Iranian parliamentary speaker, Ali Larijani, expressed support for Hamas in a conversation with Hamas's Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh, on Tuesday. "If you keep up the resistance you will succeed in being victorious," Larijani told Haniyeh. In response, Haniyeh asserted that "We will never stop battling the Zionist enemy."