Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Americans Wanted to Kidnap Me!

Ahmadinejad's New Claim:‎‎

Even though a number of days have already passed since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ‎claimed at a gathering of clerics in Qom that he had been the victim of a "failed kidnap and ‎assassination plot" during a trip to Iraq, no source has come forward to authenticate the ‎president's story. ‎
In its initial reaction, E'temad daily sought to verify Ahmadinejad's claim by asking the Iraqi ‎ambassador to Iran. At a higher level, Iraqi officials have been told of the claim but they have ‎denied it. Yesterday, Farda website reported that the Iraqi presidential council had denied the ‎existence of any attempts to kidnap or assassinate Ahmadinejad when he was in Baghdad, and ‎one of its members corroborated that position by saying, "I was one of the people who ‎accompanied Ahmadinejad from the moment he entered Baghdad until the end of his visit, and ‎throughout his visit no changes were implemented in the security plan of the Iraqi guards ‎charged with his protection, and Ahmadinejad was not threatened by any group." ‎
The denials include Iranian officials. The head of the National Security Committee of the Majlis, ‎Boroujerdi, is among them. He announced his ignorance regarding the plot to kidnap and ‎assassinate Ahmadinejad in Iraq, and told reporters, "The National Security Committee has not ‎received any reports about the plot to kidnap Ahmadinejad in Iraq." Government spokesperson ‎Gholamhossein Elham too refused to answer questions dealing with the president's controversial ‎claim in his latest meeting with reporters. ‎
Ahmadinejad's latest remarks in Qom were made at a meeting where only reporters from the ‎administration's official news agency - and not any others - were allowed to be present. Farda ‎website had previously reported that Ahmadinejad had asked the meeting's organizers not to ‎allow any reporters other than those affiliated with the administration's official news agency to ‎be present at the meeting during his speech. Nevertheless, Tabnak website quoted "a cleric who ‎was present in the meeting" as having said, "At the meeting of members of the [Qom Seminary ‎School] Teachers' Association, Ahmadinejad said, 'Coinciding with my trip to Iraq, the ‎Americans were planning to kidnap me in a well-planned plot and transfer me to the United ‎States, in order to seek concessions from the Islamic Republic for my return, using terrorism as ‎excuse." ‎
Iran daily, the administration's official newspaper, was the only newspaper that confirmed the ‎‎"conspiracy plot to kidnap Ahmadinejad" and concluded that the plot was foiled because of the ‎‎"God’s merciful will and prayers of the people." ‎
In return, newspapers critical of the Administration confronted the president’s remarks with ‎sarcasm and disbelief, posing several questions; for example, if the Americans wanted to kidnap ‎the president, why has the Iranian government not made any international complains? Why did ‎the Americans not arrest the president in New York, rather deciding to kidnap him in Iraq? Or, ‎why did the president decide to visit Italy, if he was facing kidnap threats outside Iran? ‎
In response to these questions posed by newspapers in Tehran, one of Ahmadinejad's close allies ‎revealed on Tuesday that Ahmadinejad was the target of an assassination plot at the United ‎Nations Food and Agriculture Organization's summit earlier this month in Rome. ‎
Fars News Agency published parts of a speech by the president's advisor for human resources ‎affairs. Ali Zabihi, who was speaking at a mosque in Tabriz to commemorate the third ‎anniversary of Ahmadinejad's election, while revering Ahmadinejad's "persistence in face of ‎threats," revealed the foiling of Ahmadinejad's assassination plot in Rome, adding, "The actions ‎of the president over the three previous years have endangered the illegitimate interests of many ‎people in Iran and outside. That is why some people have thought of eliminating or ‎assassinating the president, but the plots to assassinate the president in Iraq and at the Food and ‎Agriculture Organization (FAO) conference failed, thanks to God."‎
Such claims come at a time when even hardline Keyhan daily called Ahmadinejad’s claims as ‎‎"hurried" or “premature.” Keyhan wrote, "It seems as if some of the administration's remarks - ‎including the American attempt to kidnap the president in Iraq - are not appropriately measured ‎and this issue has at times inflicted serious harm on the administration and society in general."

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