Iranian leader gives rare interview to American television, but sidesteps explicit denial of US claims;
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has accused the US of seeking to seeking to hide its failures in Iraq, saying that claims that Iran is arming Iraqi insurgents to target US forces are an attempt by Washington to cover its own mistakes.
In a rare interview with the US programme ABC News, the Iranian President sidestepped accusations that his Government was supplying arms to insurgents in Iraq, insisting instead that his country was against conflict of any sort and calling for the withdrawal of US and other foreign forces from Iraq as the only way to ensure peace.
Asked if Iran was sending weapons into Iraq to kill Americans, Mr Ahmadinejad replied: “We shy away from any kind of conflict and any kind of bloodshed.
“I think that Americans have made a mistake in Iraq and unfortunately are losing, and this is a shame for Americans of course and that's why they are trying to point their fingers to other people.
“We do not want the presence of armed forces in Iraq, foreign armed forces in Iraq. We would like to have the strengthening of Iraq and the stability of the Iraq government? But we think that the US is following another policy trying to hide its defeats and failures and that's why is pointing its fingers to others. This is not a solution to the problem.”
The comments came after the US military claimed that 170 soldiers had been killed in Iraq by sophisticated armour-piercing weapons supplied by Iranian agents acting on behalf of the highest levels of the Tehran government.
Monday, February 12, 2007
Ahmadinejad: US claims over Iran are part of its 'failures in Iraq'
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, left, shakes hands with Russian Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov