Iran General NewsIran president urges West to follow God's path

Iran president urges West to follow God’s path

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Reuters: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a devout Shi’ite Muslim, urged the West on Wednesday to turn to God’s path and said failure to do would ensure they faced “no good fate”. By Parisa Hafezi

TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a devout Shi’ite Muslim, urged the West on Wednesday to turn to God’s path and said failure to do would ensure they faced “no good fate”.

Ahmadinejad, whose speeches are often peppered with religious and anti-Western remarks, also repeated a call for a live television debate with George W. Bush and said Iran was not a threat, rebuffing Tuesday’s comments by the U.S. president.

Iran is embroiled in a nuclear stand-off with the West, which accuses Tehran of seeking to build atomic bombs, a charge Tehran dismisses. Ahmadinejad says Western powers use such accusations as a ploy to hold back Iran’s development.

Washington has said the call for a debate is a diversion.

“We requested a face-to-face debate (with Bush) to assess the problems of the world … We will let humanity choose between us,” he told a meeting on the 12th Muslim Shi’ite imam, who disappeared in the 10th century AD but who Shi’ites believe will return to implement Islamic justice.

“We oppose the fact that America and Britain intend to impose themselves on every other nation,” he said.

“Those who do not respond to the invitation (to follow God’s will), as we said, will have no good fate,” said Ahmadinejad, the second non-cleric to be president of the Islamic Republic.

“I do not threaten anybody, but the whole universe threatens you. The current of life in the universe opposes you, as it opposes tyranny,” he added.

RESPONDING TO BUSH

A presidential official told Reuters that Ahmadinejad’s remarks were partly to rebut Bush’s speech on Tuesday in which he said Shi’ite “extremists” were subjecting Iran to “a regime of tyranny”, backed terrorists, sought atomic bombs and threatened the United States.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said Bush was trying to cover up his failures. “We don’t know why Mr Bush insists so much on using this odd language in international relations,” he said in a statement.

In letters Ahmadinejad wrote this year to Bush and to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, he blamed many of the world’s problems on leaders who failed to follow divine teachings.

“The time has passed for the use of force … All of the discrimination, wars and problems have a root in such an arrogant spirit, the idea of ‘Mahdaviat’ opposes that school of thought,” Ahmadinejad said.

Mahdaviat refers to the concept of belief in the Mahdi.

Ahmadinejad has often referred to the return of the 12th Imam, also known as the Mahdi, in his speeches since taking office last year, including a speech to the United Nations last September that perplexed many diplomats in the audience.

Ahmadinejad’s fervent belief in the Mahdi has unnerved some observers, because they say one school of thought, based around the secretive Hojjatieh Society, believes the 12th Imam’s return will be hastened by the creation of chaos on earth.

But others dismiss Ahmadinejad’s links to that society and point out that his emphasis on the importance of development and justice to encourage the Mahdi’s return, suggests an important divergence from Hojjatieh thinking.

Ahmadinejad swept to power in last year’s presidential election promising to ensure the poor received a fairer share of Iran’s oil wealth but also promising a return to revolutionary values warning Iranians against the threat of Western influence.

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