Ahmadinejad: Iran will help U.S. in Iraq if it stops 'bullying' policy
By The Associated Press
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad proposed Sunday that he would help the
United States calm Iraq if Washington changes what he described as its
"bullying" policy toward Iran.
In Tehran, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammed Ali Hosseini said a summit
involving Iraq and Syria was never on Iran's agenda.
"Such a summit needs certain preliminaries," he added, but did not give
"We are ready to help you," Ahmadinejad declared while addressing a group of
members of the Basij paramilitary group, affiliated with the elite
But Iran's firebrand president took the U.S. to task, questioning its motives
for invading Iraq.
"You went to Iraq to topple Saddam and find weapons of mass destruction, but
it was clear to us that you came in order to dominate the region and its oil."
Ahmadinejad said that the U.S. and Britain are paying for the instability and
violence in Iraq. "You have been trapped in a quagmire and locked in your
place with nowhere to go."
"The Iranian nation is ready to help you to get out of the quagmire - on
condition that you resume behaving in a just manner and avoid bullying and
invading," he added.
"Then, nations of the region, headed by the Iranian nation, will be ready to
show you the path of salvation," Ahmadinejad said. "It is the time for the
leaders of the U.S. and U.K to listen. You have reached a dead end in our
region as well as in the world."
But Washington was unimpressed by the Iranian president's offer.
"The Iranians have made comments similar to this in the past. There's nothing
new there," Julie Reside, a State Department spokeswoman, said Sunday.
President George Bush is scheduled to meet Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki
when he visits Jordan Wednesday and Thursday. His trip follows Vice President
Dick Cheney's brief stop Saturday in Saudi Arabia, another of Iraq's
neighbors, to confer with its leader on regional issues.
The unusual succession of trips appears to reflect U.S. determination to rally
allies at a time when Washington is considering overhauling its Iraq policy.
Since the Democratic victory in U.S. midterm elections, the Bush
administration has been under increased pressure at home to approach Iran and
Syria for help in Iraq. Such a measure is believed to be one of the
recommendations by a panel on Iraq led by former Secretary of State James A.
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani was scheduled to visit Tehran on Saturday. But
on Friday, he had to postpone his trip until Baghdad's airport - closed in a
security clampdown after the violence - reopens.
Iran is believed to back Iraqi Shiite militias blamed in sectarian killings
that have killed thousands this year. Iran has repeatedly denied the charges.
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