TEHRAN (Reuters) - Western countries supported Muammar Gaddafi when it suited them but bombed the Libyan leader when he no longer served their purpose in order to “plunder” the north African country’s oil wealth, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday.
While Tehran has applauded the people of Libya for overthrowing the man it considered an illegitimate dictator, Ahmadinejad warned Libyans that the West now aimed to run their country for them.
“Show me one European or American president who has not travelled to Libya or has not signed an agreement (with Gaddafi),” Ahmadinejad said in a speech broadcast live in which he accused the West of ordering the former leader’s execution.
“Some people said they killed this gentleman to make sure he would not be able to say anything, just like what they did to bin Laden,” he said.
Iran accuses the West of helping create the Sunni Muslim militant group al Qaeda run by Saudi-born Osama bin Laden, who was killed by U.S. special forces in Pakistan in May.
Ahmadinejad derided the West’s approach to the Security Council, which he called an “organization with no honor,” saying the UN resolution to take action against Gaddafi was used as an authorization to “plunder” Libyan oil.
“Any decision that would strengthen the presence, domination or influence of foreigners would be contrary to the Libyan nation’s interests,” Ahmadinejad said.
“The expectation of the world of the Libyan nation is that they stand and run the country themselves.”
The downfall of Gaddafi, after he gave in to pressure to abandon nuclear work, has reinforced the view of hardliners in Tehran that no good would come of making concessions to the West.
Iran has been subjected to four rounds of sanctions by the United Nations since 2006 over its disputed nuclear program. Western powers accuse Iran of trying to develop a nuclear weapon, but Tehran insists its program is peaceful.
Writing by Robin Pomeroy