CORRECTED: Iran leader warns West against Libyan intervention
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned Western powers Tuesday against imposing a no-fly zone or taking other military action in Libya.
Ahmadinejad renewed his condemnation of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi's bombardment of opponents in his own country, in an interview with Spanish television in Tehran.
But he also told Europe and the United States to learn the lessons of the Iraq and Afghan wars, saying any armed intervention in Libya would make things worse.
"I think that military invention would make things even worse. We have the experience of Iraq and Afghanistan. It made things worse, not better," Ahmadinejad told the public television station TVE.
Asked whether Tehran would support a no-fly zone, he said: "Any Western military intervention is going to make the situation more complicated. The Westerners have to cast aside their colonialist ambitions."
The United Nations Security Council will Tuesday discuss plans being pushed by France and Britain to impose a no-fly zone to prevent Libyan warplanes from bombing and firing on rebels.
Ahmadinejad condemned Kadhafi's actions.
"That action is not acceptable," he said. "Whoever bombards his own people should be condemned."
But he urged the forces of the United States and Europe to stay out of the region.
"I hope the European and US governments do not intervene in the affairs of this region and let the people of this region decide their future," the Iranian leader said.
"If they do not intervene in the affairs of this region I think the people of this region, for example the Libyan people, can decide their future," he said.
Ahmadinejad denied Tehran had repressed its own protesters.
"Never, never. We have never done that. In the past 30 years we have had 30 free elections. Every week I am in the streets for four hours speaking with the people," he said.
When the interviewer questioned him about the fate of Iranian opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, he asked whether she was their lawyer.
"In every country there are opponents, there is opposition. And there is also the law. If there is an opposition, can they infringe the law?" the Iranian president asked.
Ahmadinejad drew a parallel between Iranian protesters and the armed Basque separatist group ETA, which is held responsible for more than 800 killings in more than four decades of violence.
"Do you allow those separatist forces to burn public buildings and hit people in the street? To burn people's homes? If someone commits these atrocities in Spain, what would the judge do? Would the judge just look on at what they are doing?"
And he accused the West of propping up the world's dictatorships.
"My question is clear: who sold the 60 billion (dollars) in arms to the countries of this region?," he asked.
"In all the world, who in the past 50 years has supported the dictatorships? Show me one single dictator who is not supported by the United States and Europe," he added.
© 2011 AFP