Friday, September 16, 2005

Ayatollah Jannati: US Does Not Deserve Katrina Aid

Yahoo News:
The United States does not deserve foreign aid in the wake of hurricane Katrina given the amount of money it spends on military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, a senior Iranian cleric said on Friday.

"Those who spent millions of dollars to kill the people of Afghanistan and Iraq are now asking the people of the world to assist them in providing relief for their storm-hit people," Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati told worshippers at Friday prayers.

"Why aren't they ashamed of themselves?" he asked in the sermon broadcast live from Tehran University on state radio. READ MORE

"Why do you spend your people's money, which is supposed to be spent for their own benefit, on your presence in Iraq and confronting the Iraqi people and the government they have chosen, killing people every day?"

Washington broke ties with Iran in 1980 and dubbed it an "axis of evil" member in 2002. Nevertheless, Tehran offered to send humanitarian assistance to the victims of Katrina via the Red Crescent soon after the hurricane hit.

Despite its deep hatred of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, Iran opposed the U.S.-led war to topple him and continually calls for U.S. troops to withdraw from its western neighbor.

U.S. officials accuse Iran of stirring up unrest in Iraq by allowing weapons and fighters across its borders.

Iran denies the charge and leading religious figures in the Islamic state have in turn accused Washington of inciting violence in Iraq in order to prolong the presence of its troops.

"The Iraqi government intends to authorize a constitution to restore peace and build the future, but they (the U.S.) generate unrest to show that the government is weak and unable to establish security," Jannati said.

The cleric, who heads Iran's powerful Guardian Council -- an unelected watchdog which has the power to veto legislation deemed un-Islamic and election candidates it considers unfit for office -- said Washington was stoking violence between Iraq's majority Shi'ite and minority Sunni Muslim populations.