Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Iran's President Criticises Detente Foreign Policy

Reuters, Malaysia Star:
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday told lawmakers the foreign policy of detente adopted by his two predecessors had achieved little and reduced Iran's standing in the Islamic world, a lawmaker said. Since taking office in August Ahmadinejad has stiffened Iran's foreign policy stance, replacing dozens of pro-reform diplomats, pushing ahead with atomic work frowned on by the West and launching a series of searing verbal attacks against Israel.

In a closed-door meeting with parliament's Foreign Policy and National Security Committee, Ahmadinejad said that under former presidents Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami Iran had tried to appease Europe.

"On foreign policy, Ahmadinejad said that during the last sixteen years, we adopted a detente policy ... but in practice this policy had not achieved anything for Iran," Kazem Jalali, a member of the committee, told the official IRNA news agency.

By the end of Khatami's second term in 2004 "we were distanced from the goals of the (1979 Islamic) Revolution and our activity in the Islamic world had been somewhat diminished," Jalali quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.

Ahmadinejad's tough foreign policy approach has prompted some criticism at home where opponents say the former Revolutionary Guardsman is leading Tehran towards international isolation.

Lawmaker Heshmatollah Felahatpisheh, also present at the meeting with Ahmadinejad, said the president wanted Iran to adopt a more active foreign policy.

"We (lawmakers) agree, but believe we should act with more coordination," Felahatpisheh told IRNA.

"We stressed the need to reinforce national unity in the light of current circumstances in which the enemies are united against us. We recommended that the government conduct expert studies regarding threats and opportunities," he said.

Felahatpisheh said Ahmadinejad considered global reaction to his remark last month that the Holocaust was a myth had been "positive". READ MORE