The outspoken Ahmadinejad has long been a lightning rod for Iran’s critics.
U.S. authorities have accused Iran of being involved in a plot to kill the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States, Adel Al-Jubeir, in spring 2012.
The alleged scheme involved a connection to the Quds Force, a branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard. A 56-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen and an Iran-based member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps are accused of conspiring to hire hit men from a Mexican drug cartel to bomb a restaurant, where the ambassador would have been.
In his interview Saturday, Ahmadinejad dismissed the United States’ claim of Iranian involvement.
“Do we need really to kill the ambassador of a brotherly country? What is the reason and the interest behind that?” he said. “We never have any intention to hurt Saudi Arabia. Do we really want to do it in the United States? And is that the way, really?”
Ahmadinejad also criticized the United States’ military strategies.
In light of U.S. President Barack Obama’s announcement Friday that all American troops would be out of Iraq by the end of the year, Ahmadinejad said they should have left sooner.
“The Iraqi government is independent and sovereign. They should decide how to provide training for their military personnel,” Ahmadinejad said.
Asked whether Iran’s involvement with Iraq will increase because of the American withdrawal, Ahmadinejad said there would be no changes.
Ahmadinejad also addressed accusations that Iran has misled the International Atomic Energy Agency. The agency has said Iran was not providing enough details for it to conclude it is engaged in only peaceful nuclear activities.
Ahmadinejad called such claims “lies.”
“The era of nuclear bombs is over,” he said as he questioned the credibility of the agency.
Ahmadinejad’s stances on conflicts mirror his speech last month at the U.N. General Assembly.
Delegations from the United States and several European nations, including France and the United Kingdom, walked out during his speech, in which he repeatedly condemned the United States and said some countries use the Holocaust as an “excuse to pay ransom … to Zionists.”
In his remarks, Ahmadinejad called the September 11, 2001, attacks “mysterious” and said they were a pretext for a U.S.-led war against Afghanistan and Iraq.
He said the United States killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden instead of assigning a fact-finding team to investigate “hidden elements involved in September 11.”
He also blamed the United States for numerous global problems, including the financial crisis, and criticized it for overspending on the military and “printing trillions of dollars” that triggered inflation, according to a translation of his speech provided by the U.N.