ISLAMABAD: Taking the bar of anti-US sentiments in the regional chart to new heights, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Thursday he believed that the 180 million Pakistanis were against American meddling in their internal affairs.
“Enemies of Pakistan don’t want this great nation to prosper. But, I am confident that the people (of Pakistan) will finally defeat their indiscriminate aims,” the Iranian president hoped as he blamed the Americans for destabilising the region, notably Pakistan. In his media interaction at the Iranian Embassy in Islamabad after the D-8 summit, Ahmadinejad repeatedly referred to the Americans as ‘people with long tongues and arms’, and said they were habitual of insulting the weak and depriving them of their natural resources militarily.
The Iranian president nevertheless sounded optimistic about economic cooperation between Pakistan and his country, especially in the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, being opposed by the US in the wake of the sanctions it imposed on Iran for its ‘peaceful nuclear ambitions’. “I don’t think the Americans can affect the decisions we two governments make,” he said of the gasline project, adding, “I am hopeful that the Iranian and Pakistani governments will be able to complete it by 2014. The collective will of both the governments and their peoples will dominate at last.”
Ahmadinejad also emphasised that Iran and other countries wanted to fund the gas pipeline project, so that the Pakistani people could get the required natural gas. He said that Iranian part of the pipeline was nearing completion, while Pakistani part of it would soon be laid. The Iranian president told the media that the two sides were also cooperating in the field of electricity. “We are already supplying electricity through a transmission line. And we have also inked agreement to supply 1,000MW of electricity to Pakistan,” he added. Nejad hoped that the people of Pakistan would be able to cope with the challenges, especially the menace of terrorism, they had been faced with.
He also supported the efforts of Pakistan to bring peace to the war-torn Afghanistan, including its recent releasing of Afghan Taliban prisoners. “We support every effort by the Pakistani and Afghan sides for achieving peace and stability in Afghanistan,” he asserted while observing that lawlessness and fights were destructive. In an indirect reference to ethnic divisions in Afghanistan, the Iranian president said no group or tribe could eliminate each other in that country.
“Arms cannot settle disputes or conflicts,” he observed, and added that his country did not want to interfere in internal affairs of Pakistan and Afghanistan whatsoever. To a query by a foreign journalist about the performance of Iranian rockets supplied to Hamas in a bid to re-arm it in its conflict with Israel, Nejad held that the Palestinians reserved the right of self-defence and it was up to them to choose any method for their defence and protection. “That rocket is a good thing. War is bad,” he remarked as he reiterated that the Palestinians would decide what methods they had to adopt to defend them. Asked about the inaction of Islamic world as regards the Palestinian statehood struggle, the Iranian president believed that if Egypt, Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia sit together and arrive at a decision to evacuate the Zionists from Palestinian lands, they could do so easily.
He went on to say, “Even if two Muslim countries in the region reach a consensus regarding the Zionists, they could get Palestinian territories vacated from them under pressure.” And if democratic ways were to be adopted, added Nejad, then free and fair elections be conducted in Palestine. About any threats to Iran from Israel, he said the Zionists had been trying to dent the Iranian nation for the past 33 years, “but I tell you they are cowards”. “They want to attack Iran, but their desire is childish. We don’t consider them powerful and we don’t attach importance to them either,” Nejad averred, stating that Israel knew that the Iranians could defend itself to an extent that its attackers would always regret.
Calling the Americans as ‘people with long arms and tongues’, the Iranian president pointed out that the scourge of terrorism was on an upward trajectory since the foreign troops arrival in the region. “These western forces have literally polluted the whole region with terrorism and till the time they are not defeated, the menace will not end. These forces use terrorism as a tool to dent nations,” Nejad alleged. The Iranian president however parried a query about possible Indian hand in unrest in Pakistan’s Balochistan province, and said it was better that the Pakistani authorities took up the issue. “It will be better that all sides sit across a table and play their role towards stabilising the region. We can resolve differences through rapprochement.
Positive and constructive relations between the countries of this region will be very beneficial for us all.” Terming the recent wave of terrorism in Pakistan a conspiracy to weaken it, Ahmadinejad said certain western countries wanted to destabilise Pakistan. He however did not name the western powers that he accused of conspiring to weaken Pakistan. “We want Pakistan to prosper and be strong,” he affirmed. The Iranian president was of the view that Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran should resolve their issues mutually. He asked the Muslims of the region to carefully analyse who was benefiting from the sectarian and ethnic strife. “Killings of people in such gory incidents are incorrect. Our great religion doesn’t allow killing of people over their beliefs.” – Nation