Wednesday, 24 September 2008

'US EMPIRE REACHING THE END OF THE ROAD'















Iran's Ahmadinejad: US 'empire' nears collapse


By SLOBODAN LEKIC,
Associated Press

Iran's president addressed the U.N. General Assembly
Tuesday declaring that "the American empire" is nearing
collapse and should end its military involvement in other
countries.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said terrorism is
spreading quickly in Afghanistan and that "the occupiers"
are still in Iraq nearly six years after Saddam Hussein was
ousted from power in Iraq.

"American empire in the world is reaching the end of its
road, and its next rulers must limit their interference to
their own borders," Ahmadinejad said.

He accused the U.S. of starting wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan to win votes in elections and blamed a "few
bullying powers" for trying to undermine Iraq's nuclear
program.

Ahmadinejad's hardline rhetoric came as no surprise and
offered little in the way of compromise at the U.N., where
he faces a new round of sanctions if no agreement is
reached on limiting Iran's nuclear capabilities.

While he reiterated that the country's nuclear program is
purely peaceful, the U.S. and others fear it is aimed at
producing enriched uranium to make nuclear weapons.

Iran already is under three sets of sanctions by the U.N.
Security Council for refusing to suspend uranium
enrichment. Washington and its Western allies are pushing
for quick passage of a fourth set of sanctions to underline
the international community's resolve, but are likely to
face opposition from Russia.

"A few bullying powers have sought to put hurdles in the
way of the peaceful nuclear activities of the Iranian
nation by exerting political and economic pressures against
Iran," he said.

Ahmadinejad also lashed out at Israel on Tuesday, saying
"the Zionist regime is on a definite slope to collapse, and
there is no way for it to get out of the cesspool created
by itself and its supporters."

The Iranian president is feared and reviled in Israel
because of his repeated calls to wipe the Jewish state off
the map, and his aggressive pursuit of nuclear technology
has only fueled Israel's fears.

Ahmadinejad accused "a small but deceitful number of people
called Zionists ... (of) dominating an important portion of
the financial and monetary centers as well as the political
decision-making centers of some European countries and the
U.S."

In discussing Afghanistan, he suggested that the presence
of U.S. and NATO forces has contributed to a sharp rise in
terrorism and a huge increase in the production of
narcotics.

He predicted that the war would end in the alliance's
defeat.

"Throughout history every force that has entered
Afghanistan has left in defeat," Ahmadinejad said.

His speech came just hours after President Bush made his
eighth and final appearance before the U.N. General
Assembly, urging the international community to stand firm
against the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea.

"A few nations, regimes like Syria and Iran, continue to
sponsor terror," Bush said. "Yet their numbers are growing
fewer, and they're growing more isolated from the world. As
the 21st century unfolds, some may be tempted to assume
that the threat has receded. This would be comforting. It
would be wrong. The terrorists believe time is on their
side, so they've made waiting out civilized nations part of
their strategy."

At one point during Bush's 22-minute speech, Ahmadinejad
turned to Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and
gave a thumb's down.

As in past years, the United States only had a low-level
note-taker sitting in a rear seat reserved for the U.S.
delegation during the Iranian president's address, said
Richard Grenell, spokesman for the U.S. Mission to the
United Nations. The U.S. and Iran do not have diplomatic
relations.

During interviews ahead of his speech Tuesday, Ahmadinejad
blamed U.S. military interventions around the world in part
for the collapse of global financial markets. He said the
campaign against his country's nuclear program was solely
due to the Bush administration "and a couple of their
European friends."

"The U.S. government has made a series of mistakes in the
past few decades," Ahmadinejad said an interview with the
Los Angeles Times. "The imposition on the U.S. economy of
the years of heavy military engagement and involvement
around the world ... the war in Iraq, for example. These
are heavy costs imposed on the U.S. economy.

"The world economy can no longer tolerate the budgetary
deficit and the financial pressures occurring from markets
here in the United States, and by the U.S. government," he
added.

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