Washington, Oct. 13 – In his latest anti-Semitic outburst, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is blaming "plots" by Israel and the West for the slaughter of Coptic Christians by Egyptian security forces this week.
The Iranian leader is known for his repeated and increasingly bizarre accusations. According to him, almost every ill in the world can be laid at the door of “Zionists”. (For a collection of his past rants, go here.) He has often called for the destruction of Israel and he denies the Nazi Holocaust of six million Jews during World War II.
Ahmadinejad, in an interview with the semi-official Fars news agency, also repeated his mantra that western countries are attempting to abort and derail the Arab Spring in a bid to protect US and Israeli interests.
The interview came the same day that U.S. authorities disclosed an Iranian plot to blow up the Israeli and Saudi Arabian embassies in Washington and murder the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States.
Two men originally from Iran were allegedly behind the conspiracy - Manssor Arbabsiar and Gholam Shakuri - were charged in New York (Oct. 11). Shakuri is part of Iran’s elite Quds Force, a branch of the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps that conducts terrorist activities abroad. Shakuri is at large; Arbabsiar, who holds dual Iran-U.S. citizenship, was arrested in September.
The charges drew attention to Iran’s growing attempts to build terrorist networks throughout South and Central America, as illustrated in this map.
Egypt has become the scene of sectarian clashes in recent days, after the ruling military council ordered the closure of a Coptic church.
At least 25 were killed when soldiers used live fire to disperse demonstrators, who officials say had rioted and set cars in the area on fire to protest the decision.
But Ahmadinejad said he believes the unrest is the result of the U.S. and “Zionist regime” plots against the Egyptian revolution.
"The main aim of such measures is spoiling stability in Egypt through seditious plots," he said. "Washington and the Zionists are seeking to foment insecurity in a bid to undermine stability in Egypt."
In fact, Israel may be one of the few places in the Middle East where Christians are truly safe and the only country in the region where the Christian population is growing. Thousands of members of the ancient Coptic community in Egypt, whose roots go back thousands of years, centuries before the birth of Islam, are leaving the country to escape growing discrimination and intimidation.
“The fact is that the only place in the Middle East that Christians are really safe is Israel,” said Vicar of St George‘s Church Baghdad Canon Andrew White. White is also the president of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East.