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Iran leader: Bush must face trial over Iraq

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AFP: Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Friday that US President George W. Bush had been defeated in his Middle East plans and would one day stand trial for “atrocities” committed in Iraq. TEHRAN (AFP) — Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Friday that US President George W. Bush had been defeated in his Middle East plans and would one day stand trial for “atrocities” committed in Iraq.

Khamenei’s withering personal attack on the US president in a Tehran prayer sermon to mark the onset of the Muslim holy month Ramadan came one day after Bush once again accused Iran of undermining the Iraqi government.

“I have a firm belief that one day this current US president and the American officials will be tried in a fair international court for the atrocities committed in Iraq,” he said.

“They have to be held accountable. The United States cannot ignore its responsibility,” Khamenei told worshippers, who punctuated his sermon with shouts of “Death to America”.

“The situation will not remain like this. One day it was Hitler, then it was the turn of Saddam,” he said.

Khamenei accused the United States of invading Iraq in 2003 to execute a plan to create a Middle East that would be “based around” Iran’s arch enemy Israel and aimed at weakening the region’s Islamic system.

“The Americans were defeated in their aims in the Middle East and were defeated in their ultimate aim for the Islamic Republic of Iran.

“The Middle East plan was not achieved and they did not touch the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he said.

The United States accuses Iran of smuggling bombs into Iraq for attacks on US troops and of seeking a nuclear weapon, charges that the Tehran authorities vehemently deny.

Washington has never ruled out taking military action against Iran but Khamenei brushed off the notion that the United States could now threaten the Islamic republic.

“Thanks to God, we are climbing the ladder of success… This shows the complete defeat of United States in weakening Iran.

“It is thanks to your alertness that you have reached the summits. Work in such a way that no one can dare threaten the Iranian people,” he said.

The US and Iranian envoys to Baghdad have held two rounds of landmark talks in Baghdad on Iraqi security this year but Khamenei’s comments underline the degree of enmity that remains between the two sides just on this issue.

Bush had demanded on Thursday that Iran and Syria end what he said were their attempts to undermine the Iraqi government.

“The efforts by Iran and Syria to undermine that government must end,” Bush said in a prime-time televised address to the nation.

The top US commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, has said he has hard evidence of Iranian involvement in attacks on US soldiers and accuses Iran of fighting a “proxy war” in Iraq through the covert operations unit of its elite Revolutionary Guards.

Top Iranian officials, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have dismissed US military action as impossible, saying the United States is too bogged down in Iraq and arguing that Iran’s nuclear case is now closed.

Iran believes the answers it is providing to outstanding questions over its nuclear programme from the International Atomic Energy Agency means there is no cause for further UN Security Council sanctions.

But the six major powers working to resolve the controversy surrounding Iran’s nuclear programme are to discuss a draft resolution for new UN sanctions in Washington next Friday, the State Department said this week.

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