'Age of empires has ended', Iran's Ahmadinejad tells summit | world | Hindustan Times
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'Age of empires has ended', Iran's Ahmadinejad tells summit

world Updated: Jun 16, 2009 15:00 IST

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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday said the "age of empires" was over as he fired his latest salvo at Washington, without mentioning the post-poll violence in his country.

"The international capitalist order is retreating," the controversial president told a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg.

"It is absolutely obvious that the age of empires has ended and its revival will not take place."

The comments marked a renewal of Ahmadinejad's familiar verbal attacks on the United States, the arch-foe of Iran with whom Tehran has had no diplomatic ties for almost three decades.

New US President Barack Obama has made unprecedented overtures to the Iranian authorities in a bid to end the nuclear standoff. But Ahmadinejad expressed doubt about Washington's ability to solve global problems.

"Iraq is still occupied. There is no order in Afghanistan. The Palestinian problem is unsolved," he said.

"America is overwhelmed by economic and political crises and there is no hope in their decisions."

"The allies of the United States are also not in a position to wrestle with these problems."

Pointing to the economic crisis, Ahmadinejad said that "drastic changes are an unavoidable neccessity" and attacked the "damage caused by international capitalism."

The Iranian president is attending the summit in Iran's capacity as an observer to the the organisation and Tehran has in the past expressed interest in becoming a fully-fledged member.

The visit to Russia is Ahmadinejad's first foreign trip since his landslide re-election victory over his moderate rival Mir Hossein Mousavi sparked two days of street protests and some of the worst rioting in Tehran in a decade.

He said Iran was ready to cooperate with the SCO "more than before," proposing that the member countries establish a joint bank and also set up political and economic committees.

"Taking collective decisions on politics, economics and culture will facilitate stabilization of the situation in all the countries," the president said, flanked by his Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki.

Ahmadinejad said the organisation "can really play a leading role in the resolution of the economic and difficult political conflicts, open a new path for changes in all spheres and play an important role in global leadership."