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Thursday, March 5, 2009

US on wrong path over Israel : Iran

Iran's supreme leader, has said that Barack Obama, the US president, is pursuing the same "wrong path" as George Bush, his predecessor, in supporting Israel.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made his comments on Wednesday at the beginning of a two-day summit in support of Gaza and the Palestinians, held in Tehran.

"Even the new president of the United States who came to power with the motto of changing the Bush administration's policies talks about unconditional commitment to secure Israel," Khamenei said.

"This is defending terrorism by a government."

Khamenei also said that "resistance" was the only way to save Palestine and called for the Israeli leaders behind the recent assault on Gaza to be put on trial.

'Zionist criminals'
 
"The political and military leaders of the occupying regime that played the role in the disaster of Gaza must be put on trial. This is the first step that should be taken," Khamenei told the conference.
 
"The only way to save Palestine is resistance.

"Support and help to Palestinians is a mandatory duty of all Muslims. I now tell all Muslim brothers and sisters to join forces and break the immunity of the Zionist criminals."

Khamenei's comments are likely to disappoint the new US administration, which has indicated it is keen to break with its predecessor and engage Iran if Tehran will "unclench its fist".

Final say

Obama has suggested that he would be prepared to engage Iran on a range of issues, including the country's nuclear ambitions.

Khamenei, who has the final say on all policy in Iran, has so far not directly addressed the issue of Obama's overtures but has in the past said US governments could not be trusted.

The US has long called on Iran to end its support for organisations like Lebanon's Hezbollah and the Palestinian Hamas faction, both of which Washington considers "terrorist" organisations.

Iran says that Hamas is fighting an illegal occupation by Israel on Palestinian land.

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