Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Monday that both NATO and the United States could no longer dictate policy to the rest of the world.
“NATO and the United States should change their policy because the time when they dictate their conditions to the world has passed,” Ahmadinejad said in a speech during a conference on Afghanistan’s economy in the capital of neighboring Tajikistan.
The U.S. delegation to the conference, headed by Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake, left the hall when Ahmadinejad began to speak and returned after the conclusion of his speech.
Calling for the immediate withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, Ahmadinejad said: “The main reason for the difficulties in the world is the policy of NATO member countries, undertaken with the aim of reviving colonialism.”
“The entire problem lies with NATO and with the policies of NATO members, most of all the United States, which entered Afghanistan under the guise of the war on terrorism and under the same banner is now surrounding India, Russia and China.”
Ahmadinejad also said that relations between NATO and Pakistan are to become weaker.
“Relations between NATO and Pakistan, their unsteadiness and instability, will only grow.”
Obama, Medvedev warn on nuclear showdown
But while U.S. President Barack Obama warned Iran on Monday that time was running out to resolve the standoff over its nuclear program through diplomacy, Ahmadinejad made no reference to Iran’s nuclear progress during the speech.
“There is time to solve this diplomatically. It’s always my preference to solve these matters diplomatically,” Obama said in a speech to university students in Seoul ahead of the opening of a nuclear security summit.
“But time is short. Iran must act with the seriousness and sense of urgency that this moment demands.”
Iran says the program is purely peaceful, but Israel and Western nations believe the country is moving towards a nuclear bomb that could change the regional balance of power.
In a meeting with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev also on Monday, Obama said they discussed Iran’s nuclear program, with both expressing support for diplomatic efforts to end the impasse by the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany.
“We agreed that P5 plus one talks with Iran should be announced soon,” Obama said.
“(The talks will) offer us an opportunity to talk diplomatically (on) the critical issue of ensuring Iran is abiding by its international obligations that will allow them to rejoin the community of nations,” he said.