Tehran, Feb 24 (IANS/AKI) Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has condemned the killings of protesters in Libya and called on the Libyan government to respect the people’s will.
Demands for change shaking the Middle East would end the oppression of “arrogant” powers and would reach other continents like Europe or America unless discrimination and military occupation ended, he predicted.
“Instead of killing people, listen to them,” Ahmadinejad said in comments aired on state television. He did not mention Libya’s leader Muammar Gaddafi by name.
“How is it possible that a state leader uses bombers, tanks and cannons to kill his own people and afterwards warn that whoever says something will be killed. That is really ugly,” Ahmadinejad added.
Security forces have repeatedly crushed protests in Iran although they have stopped short of using tanks and warplanes which civilians say Libyan security forces have used against them to quell protests in the North African country in recent days.
Libyan authorities said Tuesday that 300 people -189 civilians and 111 soldiers – had been killed in the unrest that began there Feb 17. But the number of people killed has been put at 1,000 by a Rome-based Arab expat group citing witnesses inside Libya.
“We are awaiting a major change and a huge wave which will terminate all roots of deceptions,” Ahmadinejad said.
Government forces killed two people and arrested 1,500 in demonstrations in Iran Feb 14 held in solidarity with the people of Egypt and Tunisia, who ousted their autocratic rulers within a month of each other.
Tehran welcomed the Arab uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt as an “Islamic awakening” against despotic rulers.
The Feb 14 movement staged by Iran’s opposition Green movement was the first protest organised since December 2009 when eight people were killed in clashes with security forces, ending months of mass protests against the disputed June 2009 election that returned Ahmadinejad to office for a second term.