Merry Christmas, “bullying, ill-tempered and expansionist powers.”
Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will deliver a Christmas Day broadcast on Britain’s Channel 4 television, occupying a slot used to provide an often controversial counterpoint to Queen Elizabeth II’s traditional annual message, the station said Wednesday.
By David Stringer
In his recorded message, Ahmadinejad offers seasonal greetings to Christians and says he believes that if Jesus were alive, he would “stand with the people in opposition to bullying, ill-tempered and expansionist powers,” an apparent reference to the United States and its allies.
According to a transcript of the broadcast released in advance, Ahmadinejad says most of the world’s problems stem from leaders who have turned against religion. He doesn’t refer to rival nations or leaders by name or raise the issue of Israel, despite his previous calls for the removal of the Jewish state.
Atta Kenare, AFP/Getty Images
“If Christ were on earth today, undoubtedly He would hoist the banner of justice and love for humanity to oppose warmongers, occupiers, terrorists and bullies the world over,” Ahmadinejad said, according to the text.
The U.S., Britain and others suspect Iran of secretly developing nuclear weapons, while Tehran insists its uranium enrichment program is intended solely for a civilian energy program.
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