Reuters: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on a visit to fellow Muslim nation Indonesia, said on Wednesday that Western countries’ expressions of concern over its nuclear policies were a “big lie”. JAKARTA, May 10 (Reuters) – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on a visit to fellow Muslim nation Indonesia, said on Wednesday that Western countries’ expressions of concern over its nuclear policies were a “big lie”.
“I’ll tell you, they are not concerned with nuclear programmes … They are themselves engaged in nuclear activities and they are expanding day by day. They test new brands of weapons of mass destruction every day,” he told a news conference.
“Big powers pretend (they) are concerned, but it’s a big lie,” he said.
Ahmadinejad said Iranian people resented “incorrect decisions” taken by the international community.
“The Iranian people are sufficiently capable to defend (their) own rights,” he added.
Speaking of a letter sent to U.S. President George W. Bush, which Washington shrugged off as an attempt to divert attention from the nuclear issue, Ahmadinejad said sending it was the right decision and that he had no comment on the U.S. reaction.
Earlier, Indonesia greeted Ahmadinejad with a 21-gun salute as he began meetings overshadowed by the Islamic republic’s controversial nuclear policies.
Iran is under pressure to rein in a nuclear programme it says is for peaceful purposes but some countries fear is really aimed at developing weapons.
The United States has pushed for international action on the issue, and with a group of nations including China and Russia has authorised Britain, France and Germany to work on a package of carrots and sticks to entice Iran to change its programme.
President Bush received the 18-page letter from Ahmadinejad on Monday, the first publicly announced personal communication from an Iranian president to his U.S. counterpart since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Washington has shrugged it off as a move to divert attention from the nuclear issue, but analysts say it might buy Tehran more time to pursue its programme and improve its standing as a regional leader.
The prime purpose of Ahmadinejad’s visit to Indonesia is not the nuclear issue but development of economic ties.
Iran is in the process of investing several billion dollars in the oil and gas sector of fellow Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) member Indonesia and both countries are eager to boost trade.
(With reporting by Harry Suhartono and Tomi Soetjipto)