Ahmadinejad: U.S. Must Put an End to Middle East Colonialism

Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad tells CNN that U.S. weakening and 'hated' in the region, slams NATO involvement in Libya saying it has exacerbated the conflict.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad slammed the United States’ involvement in the Middle East in an interview with CNN on Saturday, saying that the U.S. must realize that the "era of colonialism is over", adding that it is weakening and “hated” in the region and should keep out of its affairs.

The Iranian president said that although killing cannot be justified under any circumstances, this does not mandate outside intervention in internal affairs.

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"Justice dictates that nobody should kill the other. Nobody has the right to kill others ... neither the government nor the opponents," Ahmadinejad said in an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria.

"We are going to make greater efforts to both encourage the government of Syria and the other side and all parties to reach an understanding. We believe there should be no interference from outside,” he added.

Syria has been in the throes of anti-government uprisings since mid-March and has come under heavy criticism for its violent crackdowns on protesters. Syria is one of Iran’s main allies.

The Iranian president said that his problem was not with the people of the United States, but rather with the U.S. government. "We have no problem with the people of the United States. We love them," he said, in the CNN interview.

Ahmadinejad dismissed U.S. allegations that Iran was involved in a recently foiled plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States, Adel Al-Jubeir, in spring 2012, the report said.

The elaborate plot was linked to the Quds Force, a branch of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard. The U.S. recently indicted two men linked to the plot.

"We never have any intention to hurt Saudi Arabia," he said in the CNN interview. "We have no problem with Saudi Arabia."

The Iranian president denied claims that Iran misled the International Atomic Agency after it said last month that Iran is not providing enough information about its nuclear activities to assuage fears that its program is not peaceful.

Ahmadinejad said that these claims are “lies”. He questioned the credibility of the nuclear watchdog, saying "the era of nuclear bombs is over,” according to the CNN report.

The Iranian president criticized NATO’s involvement in Libya, saying that it exacerbated the conflict and undermined the sovereignty of the nations the report said.

Ahmadinejad said in the interview that his position on the Libyan conflict was not affected by the death of ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi, who was killed on Thursday and whose body is currently on display in a commercial freezer in the rebel stronghold of Misrata.

On Friday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said in a statement to the official news agency IRNA that Iran hoped that the death of Gadhafi would lead to a new political era, adding that after this incident, there is no further excuse for foreign countries’ interference in Libya.

The Iranian spokesman added that the Libyans should be given the chance to decide about their own political fate.