Iranian leader says US can no longer dictate policy
Reuters— Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Monday the United States could no longer dictate policy to the rest of the world and warned of growing instability in the West’s relations with Pakistan.
Ahmadinejad, speaking at a regional conference on Afghanistan, called for the immediate withdrawal of foreign troops from the country and proposed that NATO use part of its military budget to help revive the Afghan economy.
“NATO and the United States should change their policy because the time when they dictate their conditions to the world has passed,” Ahmadinejad said in a speech in Dushanbe, capital of the Central Asian republic of Tajikistan.
“It’s better to respect nations than to scare them and colonise them. The time of imperialism has long gone. Those who do not learn from the mistakes of history will be punished.”
The U.S. delegation to the conference, headed by Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake, left the hall when Ahmadinejad began to speak and returned after the conclusion of his speech.
Washington has spearheaded international efforts to isolate Iran, including several rounds of sanctions, over a nuclear programme that Tehran says is for peaceful purposes only.
Israel and Western nations say Iran is moving towards a nuclear bomb that could change the regional balance of power. Ahmadinejad made no reference to Iran’s nuclear programme during his speech.
Speaking in Farsi, translated into Russian for conference participants in the former Soviet republic, Ahmadinejad said NATO policy in Afghanistan and other countries would make Western relations with Pakistan worse.
“Relations between NATO and Pakistan – their unsteadiness and instability will only grow,” he said. “The main reason for the difficulties in the world is the policy of NATO member countries, undertaken with the aim of reviving colonialism.”