Iran's Ahmadinejad: 'Why are we fighting each other?'

In an interview with Al Jazeera, former Iranian president says he can improve the country and calls for regional unity.

    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's former president, has called regional powers in the Middle East to change their foreign policies, including in Syria, saying the conflict in the region was imposed "from outside".

    The ex-president made the comments to Al Jazeera on Tuesday, less than a week after surprising Iranians by registering as a candidate for next month's presidential election.

    Ahmadinejad had previously said he would not stand after being advised not to by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, saying he would instead support his former deputy, Hamid Baghaei, who also registered on April 12.

    "The supreme leader gave me advice but he did not ask me not to run. It was just advice," Ahmadinejad said in his interview with Al Jazeera.

    "I announced my nomination and support to my brother, Baghaei, because the situation on the international, regional as well as on internal levels has gone through many changes," he added.

    "Everyone can play a role and I think it is possible to run the country better than it is now," Ahmadinejad said.

    Iran's presidential election will take place on May 19.

    Call for regional unity

    Ahmadinejad called for unity among regional rivals, even though Iran is pitted against countries such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia over its support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the war in Yemen.

    "All countries should change their policies, including Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, Kuwait, UAE and Bahrain, as well as Iran, Oman and Syria.

    "We all have to do this by changing our current foreign policy. We have to sit with each other. Why are we fighting each other? What is the reason?" he said.

    Ahmadinejad called the Middle East's volatile situation a war imposed on the region's countries from external forces.

    "It (war) has caused us a great loss and robbed us of our wealth. This is very bad. There should be a serious invitation for negotiations, peace and utmost understanding from the many participants among us."

    Ahmadinejad left office in August 2013 after two turbulent four-year terms, leaving Iran divided domestically, isolated internationally and struggling economically.

    In 2009, Ahmadinejad's re-election was followed by the largest protests to hit the country since the Islamic Revolution three decades before.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


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