NEW DELHI (Reuters) -Western nations are dragging their feet over halting hostilities between Israel and Lebanon because war helps their goals in the region, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in remarks published on Thursday.
Although there is an urgent need for a ceasefire, countries led by the United States and Britain have been killing time to help Israel achieve military victories, he said in an interview with India’s Hindu newspaper.
Ahmadinejad’s comments came as Israeli troops battled Hizbollah deep into south Lebanon and the Islamist group’s leader vowed to turn the area into a graveyard for invading troops.
Diplomats are still working on a U.N. resolution aimed at ending the war but, with world powers divided, no U.N. Security Council vote seems imminent.
“The first action that must be taken is to establish a ceasefire,” Ahmadinejad said in the interview, which was conducted on Tuesday in Tehran. “(But) as we speak, they are still killing time, dragging their feet, to buy the Zionists some time so that they can have some military victories.”
“On the other hand, they are talking about and circulating texts for specific resolutions to be passed and through these they are hoping to secure the interests that the Zionist regime failed to secure through a military attack,” he said.
“For this reason … the war rages on.”
Western powers have displayed a similar attitude in talks with Tehran over its controversial nuclear programme, the Iranian president said.
Tehran has vowed to expand its atomic fuel activities despite a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding it halt nuclear work by August 31 or face the threat of sanctions. The West fears Iran will use enriched uranium to make atomic bombs.
Iranian officials, who argue they need enriched uranium only to run power stations, say the resolution is illegal and that Tehran has every right to produce fuel from the uranium ore that it mines in its central deserts.
“We have always been interested in talking and we are still interested in dialogue, in the context of the law, our national interest, and based on justness and fairness,” Ahmadinejad said.
But the U.N. had passed a resolution without waiting for Iran’s response to the world body’s concerns, which Tehran had promised to submit on Aug 22.
“What is the meaning of this? The only conclusion I can draw is that they are bullying us,” he said.
“They really are not looking for a dialogue. In all honesty, they do not want to talk to us but want to impose their wishes on us. They want to deny us our rights,” he said.
“But they have miscalculated. The time for such behavior is in the past, it’s finished. We are not concerned. And they will regret the miscalculation.”