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Ahmadinejad: US troops surrounding Iran
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Ahmadinejad proposes Israel be transformed into single state including returned Palestinian refugees

NEW YORK - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday said US troops are surrounding Iran.

Interviewed by National Public Radio (NPR) about his stance, Ahmadinejad replied: "I'd like to ask you, is it the Iranian (army) that's around the territories around the country, or is it the US troops that are around?

"It is the US troops around our borders. It is not ours around the American borders. So what exactly are they doing over there?" he asked.

Washington says Iran's nuclear energy program could be a cover to develop atomic weapons.

The United States wants to impose new sanctions against Iran, but Russia and China are resisting the move.

Iran insists it has the right to develop nuclear technology, which it says is aimed at generating electricity for its growing population.

Israel is the only country in the Middle Ease that actually has nuclear weapons.

Observers say due the strong Jewish and pro-Israel lobbies in the US and some European countries, these countries have taken a hypocritical stance in relation to nuclear issues in the region.

Referring to a global financial crisis sparked by the banking meltdown on Wall Street, Ahmadinejad also told the Los Angeles Times that "the world economy can no longer tolerate the budgetary deficit and the financial pressures."

Ahmadinejad firmly placed the blame for world tensions on Washington.

"Problems do not arise suddenly," he told the LA Times.

"The US government has made a series of mistakes in the past few decades. First, the imposition on the US economy of heavy military engagement and involvement around the world..., the war in Iraq, for example..., these are heavy costs."

Ahmadinejad proposed Israel be transformed into a single state including returned Palestinian refugees, the LA Times reported.

Meanwhile, activists from Jewish organizations demonstrated Monday against Iran at UN headquarters in New York in a rally.

Demonstrators brandished placards that read "Stop Iran Now," "No Nuclear Iran," and "Zero Tolerance: United For Israel."

At the rally Jewish activists were joined by members of the organization Code Pink: Women for Peace, who called on the United States and UN members to "negotiate with Iran" and to "stop the next war now."

A separate rally was due nearby by the organisation StopWarOnIran.org, which accuses President George W. Bush of pushing for a war on Iran.

Source >  Middle East online | sept 23
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