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Ahmadinejad: U.S., Europe should not intervene in Libya

By Al Goodman, CNN
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (pictured March 8) said military invention by the U.S. and Europe in Libya would make matters worse.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (pictured March 8) said military invention by the U.S. and Europe in Libya would make matters worse.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The Iranian president was interviewed by a Spanish network
  • He denies any oppression against the opposition at home
  • But Ahmadinejad said he condemns "massacres" in Libya
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Madrid, Spain (CNN) -- The United States and Europe should not intervene militarily in strife-torn Libya because it would make matters worse, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told Spanish state television TVE on Tuesday.

"I think a military intervention would be even worse. The experience of Iraq and Afghanistan is before us. It made things worse, not better," Ahmadinejad told TVE in an interview at the presidential palace in Tehran, Iran, which was televised in Spain.

He condemned Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's bombardment of rebels, saying, "We condemn these massacres and we have condemned them previously. Whomever bombs his own people should be condemned."

But Ahmadinejad -- speaking in his native Farsi that was translated to Spanish -- also warned, "A Western intervention will just complicate the situation. The West needs to leave behind its colonialist vision."

He accused the United States and Europe of having provided weapons and backing to Gadhafi and other autocratic regimes in the region in the past.

"Previously they helped the government and today they are pretending to help the people," he said. "If they don't intervene in Libyan affairs I think the Libyan people can decide their future."

On Saturday, the Arab League recommended a no-fly zone over Libya. In a private session on Monday, the U.N. Security council has expressed doubts and concerns about the measure, meaning quick approval likely will not occur.

Asked about Iran, Ahmadinejad denied any repression against opposition at home.

"Never, never. We have never done that. During the past 30 years we have had 30 free elections," he said.

The TVE reporter, Ana Pastor, then requested information about Iranian opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.

"Are you their lawyer?" Ahmadinejad replied. "In all countries there are opponents. And there is also the law. If there is an opposition, can they break the law?"

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