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Feb 23rd, 2011

Iran’s President: Mideast Upheaval Will Reach U.S.

Ahmadinejad also condemns Libya’s use of force against demonstrators as ‘grotesque’

Image: Supporters of Iran's defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi set burning barricades
Supporters of Iran’s defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi set burning barricades in the streets as they protest during a demonstration on Saturday, June 20, 2009. (Photo credit: Getty Images)

By Ali Akbar Dareini

Feb. 23, 2011

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s president said Wednesday he is certain the wave of unrest in the Middle East will spread to Europe and North America, bringing an end to governments he accused of oppressing and humiliating people.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose own country resorted to violence to disperse an opposition rally earlier this month, also condemned Libya’s use of force against demonstrators, calling it “grotesque.”

Iran’s hard-line leaders have sought to claim some credit for the uprisings in Arab nations, saying they are evidence that its 1979 Islamic Revolution, which ousted the U.S.-backed shah, is being replayed.

The embattled movement calling for social and political reforms in Iran has labeled that view hypocritical — and to prove it the opposition tried to stage its own rallies in solidarity with the anti-government protests in Egypt last week. Clashes between security forces and demonstrators left at least two people dead and dozens injured.

“The world is on the verge of big developments. Changes will be forthcoming and will engulf the whole world from Asia to Africa and from Europe to North America,” Ahmadinejad told a news conference Wednesday.

The tone of the remarks seemed to draw on the belief by Shiite Muslims that a revered ninth century saint known as the Hidden Imam, will reappear before judgment day to end tyranny and promote justice in the world. …

Even while denying his own opponents the right to demonstrate, the president urged Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi to heed his peoples’ demands. He sharply criticized Libya’s leaders for their use of force.

“This is very grotesque. It is unimaginable that there is someone who kills and bombards his own people. I strongly advise them to let nations have their say and meet their nations’ demands if they claim to be the officials of those nations,” Ahmadinejad said. …

Iranian police and paramilitary groups brutally put down protests on their own streets after Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election in 2009. The opposition claims the vote was rigged and hundreds of thousands of protesters poured into the streets, posing the most serious challenge to Iran’s ruling system since the 1979 revolution. …

Full story


Related reports on this site

Image: Unrest continues after Iranian presidential elections

Gadhafi Steers Libya to Civil War (Feb. 22, 2011)

Deadly Crackdown in Libya (Feb. 20, 2011)

Shouting from Rooftops in Iran (June 19, 2009)

Iran’s Disputed Presidential Vote (June 17, 2009)

Personality Profile of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (June 11, 2009)


FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — February 23, 2010

Iraq-Afghanistan Casualties

One year ago today, I provided my weekly report of U.S. military deaths in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Army National Guard Chief Warrant Officer Billie Jean Grinder, 25, Gallatin, Tenn., died Feb. 21, 2010 near Qayyarah Airfield West about 30 miles south of Mosul in northern Iraq, when her OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter crash landed. She was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 230th Cavalry Regiment, Tennessee National Guard, Louisville, Tenn. Her co-pilot, Capt. Marcus Ray Alford of Knoxville, also died in the crash.

Grinder’s sister, Melissa Smith, said Grinder was scheduled to come home within two weeks. “She was looking forward to helping me plan my wedding,” said Smith, who lives in Browerville, Minn. Smith said she and her family were still in shock but said she was comforted knowing her father, Billy Davenport — an aviation mechanic with the Tennessee Army National Guard – was stationed with Grinder at Camp Speicher in Iraq when the accident happened.


FROM THE ARCHIVES: Two Years Ago — February 23, 2009

Coleman v. Franken Live Coverage

Two years ago today, on Feb. 23, 2009, I featured live coverage of the trial to decide the winner of the Coleman-Franken contest for U.S. Senate, courtesy of The UpTake.

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