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Iran leader calls for alliance against West

Associated Press / June 16, 2011

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ASTANA, Kazakhstan — President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran called yesterday for a security alliance of several former Soviet nations and China to form a united front against the West.

Ahmadinejad’s address to fellow heads of state at the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Kazakhstan will probably deepen suspicions that the bloc is intended as a counterweight to the United States across the region.

In a declaration signed by all the member states, the group also attacked missile defense programs, another apparent dig at the United States.

“The one-sided and unlimited development of missile defense systems by one government or a narrow group of governments could cause damage to strategic stability and international security,’’ the document said.

Much of Ahmadinejad’s fiery speech was devoted to leveling an exhaustive series of thinly veiled accusations against unnamed Western countries, which he described as “enslavers, colonialists, [and] invaders.’’

“Which one of our countries [has played a role] in the black era of slavery, or in the destruction of hundreds of millions of human beings?’’ Ahmadinejad said, opening his address.

The organization was formed in Shanghai in 2001 by China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan to address religious extremism and border security in Central Asia, but it has in recent years attracted interest in full membership from countries such as India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

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