ROME (AFP) — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad slammed aggressive US policy in the Middle East on Tuesday, while insisting that the state of Israel will "certainly" disappear.
The hardline leader also taunted US President George W. Bush, saying he was keen to attack Iran but would end his term in the White House without having done so after elections in November.
"The United States (has) brought the Middle East nothing but threats, pressure and coercion," he told a press conference at a summit on the global food crisis.
"Bush is very much interested in a military attack against Iran. Several times he has tried to find excuses for such an attack, but every time he has failed," he said at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters in Rome.
"He's very eager for a war (but) he will actually bring his presidential term to an end with the grief of his failure," he said.
In other comments he insisted that Tehran's nuclear programme does not breach international law. "Our nuclear programme is legal and transparent. We are not seeking more than our rights."
Also Tuesday, Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda urged Ahmadinejad on Tuesday to comply with UN Security Council resolutions on halting uranium enrichment, the prime minister's spokesman Kasuo Kodama said.
"We do maintain good bilateral relations with Iran, so the prime minister took the opportunity to convey the urging as a friend of Iran" in the half-hour meeting, Kodama told reporters.
"Iran has its own views of course, but if Iran continues to be isolated, Iran stands to lose the most," Kodama said.
Nuclear proliferation will be on the agenda of the Group of Eight summit to be hosted by Japan next month, Kodama noted.
The United States claims that the Islamic republic is using its civilian nuclear programme as a front to conceal development of atomic weapons technology.
Such development would notably be seen as a threat to Israel, whose existence Ahmadinejad has repeatedly called into question.
He reiterated this view Tuesday, saying that the demise of the Jewish state "will certainly happen and is something that is already happening, whether we are involved in it or not."
The Iranian leader lashed out at the West over its handling of the global food crisis Tuesday, accusing certain "big powers" of acting with sometimes "devilish" motives.
Ahmadinejad called for the crisis to be tackled outside the UN system, alleging that major powers were imposing their will on the UN Security Council.
He also alleged that Western countries were acting to devalue the US dollar, fueling the rise in oil and food prices.
"Today the planners of the big powers act in order to devaluate (the) dollar," he said according to the official translation of his comments, accusing them of seeking to "impose their will on the market."
Ahmadinejad joined leaders including the presidents of Brazil, France, Argentina, Egypt and Iran at the Rome conference at the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization, the UN's global food body.
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