Entries in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (40)


Ahmadinejad Says Goodbye to Iraq as Iranian President

(BAGHDAD) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may have turned into something of a pariah in his homeland but he's still welcomed in Iraq.

With Ahmadinejad preparing to turn over the civilian reins of power to President-elect Hassan Rowhani, he made one last official visit to Baghdad Thursday to essentially reiterate the new ties the two governments have after years of conflict.

When Saddam Hussein was Iraq's leader, there was no love lost between Baghdad and Tehran. However, Hussein’s ouster, thanks to the U.S.-led invasion, helped bring Iraq and Iran closer together, especially with a Shiite government now in control.

Ahmadinejad, who last visited Baghdad in 2008, said during brief remarks, "We are determined to make use of all available opportunities to develop brotherly relations."

It's expected that these ties will continue unabated with Rowhani in control, although he blamed the old administration this past week for the poor state of the Iranian economy.

Currently, the two countries are engaged in $13 billion in annual trade.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Iranian President Seems to Ignore Supreme Leader's Edict

ABC/Donna Svennevik(TEHRAN, Iran) -- Sending mixed signals seems to be Iran's forte. 

Last week, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued an edict that effectively ended any possibility that Tehran will hold bilateral discussions on issues the U.S. deems vital to diminish Iran's continued threat to the region's stability.

By doing so, the ayatollah undercut statements by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and other Iranian officials who have recently indicated progress in potentially dealing with the U.S.

However, Ahmadinejad seemed to ignore Khamenei's edict when he spoke to throngs of Iranians on Sunday during the 34th anniversary of the Islamic revolution.

As thousands gathered in Azadi Square in Tehran, the Iranian president said, "Pull the gun from in front of the Iranian people and I will talk to you in person" -- an indication that he still wants to hold discussions with the Obama administration.

There was no immediate response from the State Department about this latest set of mixed signals.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Iranian President Visits Egypt Ending 30-Year Boycott

The Iranian President's Office via Getty Images(CAIRO) -- In a sign of a major policy shift, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met with top Egyptian officials in Cairo Tuesday.

Until recently, the two nations had no diplomatic ties since the Islamic Revolution in Iran three decades ago and the ascension of Hosni Mubarak as Egyptian president soon thereafter.

However, Mubarak's overthrow in 2011 has resulted in closer relations between Egypt's civilian Muslim government and Iran.  Last summer, President Mohammed Morsi attended a summit in Tehran designed to reduce the isolation by the international community over Iran's rogue nuclear program.

Morsi personally greeted Ahmadinejad upon his arrival in Cairo Tuesday for talks that included improving ties between their countries as well as discussing the ongoing Syrian conflict that threatens to destabilize the entire region.

Although Morsi may be trying to get closer to Iran, he's also cognizant that reestablishing full diplomatic ties would likely jeopardize much needed economic assistance from Washington and the West.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Directs His Anger at Iranian Government

ABC/Donna Svennevik(TEHRAN, Iran) -- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is at war again with his enemies, but this time it's not the usual suspects.

Rather than directing his fury at Israel and the West, the Iranian president is taking his own regime to task for forbidding him to meet with his top press adviser, who has been imprisoned since last month.

The head of Iran's judiciary won't allow Ahmadinejad to meet with Ali Akbar Javanfekr, claiming it would provide a distraction from the country's more pressing problems that includes an economy on the brink of collapse due to tough sanctions imposed by the U.S. and the rest of the international community.

However, Ahmadinejad is slamming the Iranian hierarchy for jailing Janvanfekr, chief of the Islamic Republic News Agency, for allegedly publishing material offensive to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

In an open letter, Ahmadinjead called his adviser's imprisonment unfair and that the government had no legal right to keep him from seeing Janvanfekr.

The Iranian president wrote, "I have to remind you that in the Constitution, there is nothing that requires asking permission or agreement of the judiciary when it comes to exercising the president’s legal duties."

The battle will likely go on as it shows the further strain between the secular president and Iran's more powerful theocratic rulers.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Iran's Ahmadinejad Says America Entrusted Itself to the Devil

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In a fiery speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad railed Wednesday against the United States and European Union, whom he said have "have entrusted themselves to the devil."

The Assembly hall was not full when Ahmadinejad spoke.  The United States delegation to the United Nations, along with Israel's delegation, boycotted Ahmadinejad's speech to protest the anti-Israel views Ahmadinejad has perpetuated this week during a spurt of media interviews.

The Iranian leader, who has repeatedly called for the destruction of Israel and denied the existence of the Holocaust, spoke Wednesday on one of Judaism's holiest days, Yom Kippur.  During his speech he referred to Israelis as "uncivilized Zionists."

Ahmadinejad had a list of complaints about the U.S. and Europe.

He called for a "new world order" and said that allowing five countries to have veto power at the U.N. Security Council was "in no way acceptable."  The United States, Russia, China, Britain and France have the power to veto resolutions.

"The current abysmal situations of the world are due mainly to the wrong leadership of the world who have entrusted themselves to the devil," he said, referring to America's commanding position in world affairs.

He condemned the current U.S. presidential election for spending "hundreds of millions on election campaigns" and not listening to the "will and views of the masses."

"In the United States and in Europe their voices are not heard even if they constitute 99 percent of the societies," he said.  "Human and ethical values are sacrificed in order to win worlds."

Ahmadinejad also dubbed capitalism a "failed practice" that is "bogged down in a self made quagmire and has unleashed a deadlock and has not been able to come up with any solution to the economic and social problems of the world."

In addition, he criticized the United States for "throwing" Osama bin Laden "into the sea without military trial," referring to the U.S. disposal of bin Laden's body off of a U.S. warship following Muslim prayers.

Ahmadinejad did not talk about his country's nuclear program, which has aligned the U.S., the E.U. and the U.N. against his country with a series of stringent sanctions intended to dissuade Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


US Boycotts Iranian President's United Nations Speech

ABC/Donna Svennevik(NEW YORK) -- The United States delegation to the United Nations boycotted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech to the U.N General Assembly on Wednesday to protest the anti-Israel views Ahmadinejad has perpetuated this week during a spurt of media interviews.

The fiery leader, who has repeatedly called for the destruction of the Jewish state of Israel and denied the existence of the Holocaust, spoke Wednesday on one of Judaism's holiest days, Yom Kippur.

"Over the past couple of days, we've seen Mr. Ahmadinejad once again use his trip to the U.N. not to address the legitimate aspirations of the Iranian people but to instead spout paranoid theories and repulsive slurs against Israel," Erin Pelton, a spokesman for United States U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, said in a statement.

"It's particularly unfortunate that Mr. Ahmadinejad will have the platform of the U.N. General Assembly on Yom Kippur, which is why the United States has decided not to attend," Pelton said.

A bipartisan group of 14 U.S. House members pushed a resolution on Monday demanding that President Obama pressure the United Nations to move or cancel Ahmadinejad's speech, saying it was "offensive" and "insensitive" that the "Anti-Semitic" leader speak on Yom Kippur.

The United States as well as other Western delegations have traditionally walked out of the assembly hall in protest when the Iranian president speaks.

During his United Nations speech last year, the American delegation walked out after Ahmadinejad insulted the U.S. for killing Osama bin Laden and suggested that the Sept. 11 attacks was a conspiracy.  Most European countries left in protest after he questioned the Holocaust.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ahmadinejad’s Plane Made in America, Parked at Andrews AFB

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GettyImages(WASHINGTON) -- Here’s something you don’t see every day.

At Joint Base Andrews Wednesday morning, reporters traveling to Ohio with President Obama spotted what is in all likelihood Iranian President Mahmoud Amadinejad’s airplane sitting on the tarmac: an American-made Boeing 747.

The Iran Air jet was parked next to the Russian government airplane and several others that appeared to be from foreign governments.  Andrews becomes a parking lot for the planes during the annual U.N. General Assembly since there is not enough space at John F. Kennedy International Airport and other New York City area airports.

It’s not the first time Ahmadinejad’s plane has been parked at Andrews during the Assembly: In 2006, ABC News reported it was there because it was considered a “high-value target.”

Iran has an entire fleet of aging Boeing passenger planes, which they purchased when the Shah was still in power.  Current U.S. sanctions do not allow the Iranians to buy spare parts for the aircraft, meaning a lot of these passenger planes are dropping out of the sky.  That has lead to some criticism of the sanctions because they put innocent lives at risk.

The Obama administration has dangled spare parts for the Boeings in front of Iran during negotiations over its nuclear program.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Iranian President Predicts 'Elimination' of Israel

ABC/Donna Svennevik(NEW YORK) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad kept to the same script in making his annual pilgrimage to New York City for the United Nations General Assembly session, expressing his government's disdain for Israel in remarks to reporters on Monday.

The fiery and controversial leader maintained that Israel, which he refers only as "Zionists," will eventually be "eliminated" because it has only been in existence for less than 70 years "with the support and force of the Westerners."

That's compared to 10,000 years for Iran, according to Ahmadinejad, the implication being that it will never go away.

The Iranian president blithely dismissed reports of Israel launching a preemptive strike against his country's nuclear facilities, saying, "we do not take seriously the threats of the Israelis.  We have at our disposal all the means to defend ourselves."

And even as his government has suffered economically due to sanctions imposed by the U.S. and the West, Ahmadinejad indicated that the distress was only temporary.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has made a point of warning world leaders not to engage in volatile rhetoric during the week -- an admonition that Ahmadinejad has once again ignored.

Still, he did raise a shred of hope that the controversy over Iran's nuclear program could be resolved, but only through "dialogue."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Wife Asks Ahmadinejad for Help in Finding Missing Ex-FBI Agent Husband

BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- As Mahmoud Ahmadinejad prepares to speak to the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Wednesday, an electronic billboard in Times Square and subway placards around the city will remind the Iranian president and U.N. delegates of an American who has been missing in Iran for more than five years.

"I'm trying to make the public realize that my husband is the second-longest held hostage in American history," said Christine Levinson, husband of former FBI agent Robert Levinson. "It's been five and a half years since he disappeared on Kish Island and two years since we received a video from his captors . . . and we still have no information about Bob since the day he disappeared."

"This week, with the UN General Assembly in New York," Christine Levinson told ABC News, "we are trying to get the whole world's attention. I am hoping we will finally be able to get him home."

Robert Levinson, a father of seven and grandfather of two, began working as a private detective after leaving the FBI. He disappeared in March 9, 2007 while on a business trip to the Iranian resort island of Kish. U.S. officials believe he is being held by unknown captors in Southwest Asia.

Five months after his disappearance, against the advice of the U.S. government, Christine Levinson and her son traveled to Tehran to conduct their own investigation, but the trip yielded no results.

The Levinson family received a so-called "proof of life" video in late 2010 showing Levinson, who suffers from diabetes and high blood pressure, in deteriorating health. Levinson, who was 62 at the time, addressed Christine as "my beautiful, my loving, my loyal wife" and referred to his 33 years of service to the federal government before pleading for help from U.S. authorities.

Christine Levinson is now appealing directly to Ahmadinejad, who is under the international spotlight as he prepares to give his final speech to the U.N. as Iranian president. He leaves office next year. "In the past he has said that he will investigate and he will have his people investigate," Levinson told CNN. "He has promised to help us. So we need to get him in touch with whoever can help us get the job done and get Bob home."

Pictures of Levinson began appearing on subway placards in midtown Manhattan last week. The signs, and a Times Square billboard, feature a picture of Levinson next to the word "Missing" and ask United Nations delegates to "encourage the Islamic Republic of Iran to work with the U.S. to bring Bob home."

This year the FBI offered a $1 million reward for information. The case has frustrated investigators, whose diplomatic strategies have failed.

"We ask ourselves how is it possible that someone -- especially someone 6'4" and (then) 225 pounds -- disappears without a trace," reads a statement from the Levinsons on the family's website.

Iranian representatives did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Iranian President Unveils Upgraded Surface-to-Surface Missile

ABC/Donna Svennevik(TEHRAN, Iran) -- Claiming that his country has to defend itself from the threat of a military strike, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced a new version of a short range surface-to-surface ballistic missile on Tuesday.

Ahmadinejad said the updated Fateh-110 or Conqueror was not intended in an aggressive context.

He declared, "We do not seek progress in the defense industry for conquest.  We want it to defend ourselves, our territory, our existence.  Secondly, we want it for defending human dignity."

The unveiling of the new Fateh-110 and other defense projects comes as talk has been heating up recently about Israel possibly launching a preemptive strike to knock out Iran's rogue nuclear facilities.

According to Iranian scientists, the upgrade means quicker launching, a longer life and use of the missile in poor weather conditions.

Iran isn't believed to have the technology yet to deploy a nuclear bomb but it does have an arsenal of short and medium-range missiles capable of reaching Israel and U.S. ships stationed in the Persian Gulf.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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