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Ahmadinejad Blasts Gaza "Massacre"

(AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused Israel Thursday of committing "massacre and aggression " in the Gaza Strip, and blasted the United Nations Security Council as beholden to U.S. and British influence.

Sitting under a large poster bearing a verse from the Quran, Ahmadinejad told reporters the people of Gaza were the victors in the ongoing conflict.

In an unprecedented act, he asked the people of Israel to come into the streets to protest against their country's military operation in the Palestinian territory, as has been seen in other nations across the world.

He also asked Israeli soldiers to disobey their commanders and to not kill women and children in Gaza. "We know that there is discontentment and you have differences with your commanders."

He advised the leaders of Arab countries to set aside their differences and work towards a just peace in Gaza.

Ahmadinejad said he had not heard about a $1.5 million reward offered by an Iranian student group for the head of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

For several days groups of Iranian students staged demonstrations in support of the Palestinians and condemned Egypt for not opening the Rafah crossing to allow aid through to Gaza. One group set the reward for Mubarak's head. These students were also critical of their own government for not permitting them fly to Gaza to fight alongside Hamas, and for Tehran's tolerance toward Egypt.

Ahmadinejad insisted that Iran is against any kind of brutality and genocide. Several times he accused the U.S. and British governments and their allies of supporting the killing of Palestinians in Gaza. He also said these governments were seeking to create discord in the region, but they have not succeeded.

On relations with the new U.S. administration, he said the "sticks and carrots" policy of President Bush was out of date. Ahmadinejad said Iran would wait to see whether President-elect Barack Obama brought real change in policy, based on "justice and friendship."

"The root for all wars and crisis is U.S. interference in different parts of the world. The U.S. should stay within its own territories," Ahmadinejad added.

At the end of his 10th news conference, the Iranian President was asked three times by the same reporter if the Islamic Republic was sending arms to Hamas.

"We do not think Hamas needs weapons, and Iran does not need to do so (arm Hamas). What is really defeating the Zionist Regime is the resistance of the people in Gaza," Ahmadinejad said.

Israel and the West accuse Iran of supporting Hamas with both money weapons.