Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has demanded the full withdrawal of foreign forces from Iraq and Afghanistan, saying that the presence of outsiders went against the popular will in these countries.
“We advise you [U.S.-led foreign forces] to go back to your own land and spend heavy military costs on resolving the woes of your own nations,” Mr. Ahmadinejad said in Tehran at the start of the week-long national Sacred Defence Week on Tuesday.
Mr. Ahmadinejad made these remarks on the eve of his visit to New York where he will address the United Nations General Assembly session. “As you saw in Iraq and Afghanistan, people are against the presence of foreigners. It is impossible for foreign troops to have a stable base in these regions,” he observed.
In a show of strength in Tehran, Iran paraded its third-generation Sejjil missiles. The solid-fuel, two-stage Sejjil missile has two engines, and has a longer range than Shahab-3 missiles which have a 2,000-km reach, said the semi-official Fars news agency.
Ahead of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s visit, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation, Ali Akbar Salehi said that Iranian scientists had developed a new generation centrifuge, used for enriching uranium. Analysts say that contrary to the wishes of Western powers, the announcement signals Iran’s intent to persist with and improve upon its atomic programme.
A report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released at the end of August said that Iran had positioned 8,300 centrifuges at its uranium enrichment plant in Natanz. Iranian authorities have maintained that they require 50,000 centrifuges to feed their future atomic power plants with low-enriched uranium. Iran’s atomic programme will come under sharp scrutiny during the course of this week, when G8 and G20 summits are held. The five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany will hold direct talks with Iran on October 1.