AFP: Hardline Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday warned the United States against military intervention in Libya, saying such action would create a graveyard for its soldiers.
TEHRAN, March 2, 2011 (AFP) – Hardline Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday warned the United States against military intervention in Libya, saying such action would create a graveyard for its soldiers.
Ahmadinejad, under whose presidency animosity between Tehran and Washington has heightened, said the current situation was completely different to what it was during the tenure of former US president George W. Bush.
“(Bush) used a deception named September 11 to prepare the ground to invade Iraq and Afghanistan,” Ahmadinejad said at a public speech in the western province of Lorestan.
“Be warned that if you intervene militarily one more time, in any of the countries in North Africa or the Middle East, the regional nations will rise and dig the graves of your soldiers,” he said, referring to reports that the West was weighing up military option to oust Libyan strongman Moamer Kadhafi.
Ahmadinejad, in his speech broadcast live on state television, reiterated all the regional “dictators” were backed by Washington.
“Today, they (the US and its allies) claim they are confronting dictators… (But) everywhere in the world, in all of the Muslim world, in all of the Middle East, wherever there is a dictator, he is backed by them,” he said.
“And now they come and say they want to support the people… but your plans have been derailed… today no one recognises your claim of supporting the people.”
Ahmadinejad said on Monday that US weapons were “killing” the protesters in the uprisings sweeping the Middle East and North Africa.
On Tuesday, Iran’s foreign ministry also warned against military action in Libya.
Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said the “inhumane violence” unleashed by Kadhafi loyalists against Libya’s “popular movement… should not provide an excuse for military interference by other countries.
“They (Western countries) should not try to turn countries into military bases,” Mehmanparast was quoted as saying on the website of Iran’s English-language Press TV channel.
The Iranian statements came in response to reports that the West, including the United States, was considering the military option against Kadhafi’s embattled regime.
However, such intervention was looking less likely on Wednesday after US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said “there is no unanimity within NATO for the use of armed force” against Kadhafi.
“We also have to think about frankly the use of the US military in another country in the Middle East,” Gates added.
Although Kadhafi’s military is badly outgunned by US and NATO aircraft, the regime has dozens of surface-to-air missiles that could target invading warplanes.
More than 100,000 people have already left Libya to escape a vicious crackdown by Kadhafi loyalists which has left at least 1,000 dead, according to conservative UN estimates.
The revolt against Kadhafi’s 41-year rule is part of anger at authoritarian Arab regimes sweeping the Middle East and North Africa and even the Gulf states of Kuwait and Oman.
The Arab uprisings were triggered by revolts in Tunisia and Egypt which led to ouster of their respective presidents.