Ahmadinejad Blasts Obama as "Similar to Bush" - NBC New York

Ahmadinejad Blasts Obama as "Similar to Bush"

Opposition leader says he is isolated, vows to press on



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    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is blasting President Obama for saying he is outraged over Iran's violent crackdown on protesters.

    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused President Obama of acting like his White House predecessor, as the defiant opposition leader vowed to keep fighting the hard line regime.

    Ahmadinejad, the hard line incumbent re-elected in a vote opponents say was rigged, was reacting to Obama saying he was "appalled and outraged" by a bloody crackdown on protests of the election.

    "We expect nothing from the British government and other Europeans governments, whose records and backgrounds are known to everybody and who have no dignity, but I wonder why Mr. Obama, who has come with the slogan of change, has fallen into this trap, the same route that Mr. Bush took and experienced its ending," Ahmadinejad told a state-controlled news agency.

    Before the Iranian election, the Obama administration had indicated that it was interested in reaching out to Iran, after years of a diplomatic freeze following the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Iran has given no clear signal that it is interested in Obama's overture. In the wake of the vote, Obama has used increasingly harsh language to discuss Iran.

    Ahmadinejad, who is to be sworn in for a second four-year term by August, warned that there would be "nothing left to talk about" if the U.S. leader kept up such a tone. "This will not have any result, except that the people will consider you similar to Bush," he said.

    The defiant regime, increasingly isolated internationally over its brutal treatment of protesters, rounded up 70 university professors, according to a Web site affiliated with opposition politician Mir Hossein Mousavi, who says he was robbed of victory in a rigged presidential election.The professors were detained on Wednesday, immediately after meeting with Mousavi, the Kalemeh site said. The report said it is not clear where the detainees were taken.

    Mousavi said for the first time Thursday that he is being isolated by authorities and pressured to drop his presidential election challenge.

    In a statement on his Web site, Mousavi suggested he would stand strong. "I cannot modify black as white and white as black," he was quoted as saying. "This is not the solution to expect me to express something in which I don't believe.

    "I am not ready to withdraw from demanding the rights of the Iranian people," said the former prime minister who ran as a reform candidate.

    Iran's state TV says that an aide to opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi has been prevented from leaving Iran for Britain.

    The report identifies the aide as the head of Mousavi's information committee, Abolfazl Fateh, a doctoral student in Britain.

    In recent days, demonstrators have found themselves more and more scattered and struggling under a blanket crackdown that Mousavi's wife compared to martial law. A flood of security forces using tear gas and clubs quickly overwhelmed a small group of rock-throwing protesters near Iran's parliament Wednesday.

    Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has said the election of Ahmadinejad will not be reversed. He has said the nation's rulers would never yield to demands from the streets.

    Mousavi supporters said they would release thousands of balloons on Friday imprinted with the message "Neda you will always remain in our hearts" — a reference to the young woman killed last week who has become an icon of the protests.