Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

Ahmadinejad wants 'new world order'

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the United Nations General Assembly (AP/Seth Wenig)
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the United Nations General Assembly (AP/Seth Wenig)

Iran's president says a new world order needs to emerge, away from American "bullying" and domination.

In a wide-ranging interview on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly - his last as president of Iran - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also discussed solutions for Syria, dismissed the question of Iran's nuclear ambition and said despite Western sanctions his country was better off than it was when he took office in 2005.

"God willing, a new order will come together and we'll do away with everything that distances us," he said. "Now even elementary school kids throughout the world have understood that the United States government is following an international policy of bullying. Bullying must come to an end. Occupation must come to an end."

Mr Ahmadinejad said Iran was one of nearly a dozen countries forming a new contact group to try to end the 18-month-old civil war in Syria. The group would include 10 or 11 countries in the Middle East and elsewhere and meet in New York "very soon", he said.

He said the group hoped to get government and the opposition to sit down with each other.

Activists say nearly 30,000 people have died in the Syrian uprising that began in the March 2011.

Earlier this month Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi announced the formation of a four-member contact group with Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. But Saudi Arabia so far has not participated.

It was unclear how Mr Ahmadinejad's contact group would combine with the earlier effort by Mr Morsi or mediating efforts of international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.

He announced it before a Friday meeting of key countries in the so-called Friends of Syria group, which supports the opposition and is planning for a transition after the departure of President Bashar Assad.

"I will do everything in my power to create stability, peace and understanding in Syria," Mr Ahmadinejad said.

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