Larijani says Israel is behind deaths of Iranian scientists

Also claims West is destroying Jerusalem's Islamic features.

Sheikh Saud al Qassimi, the Ruler of Ras al Khaimah with Ali Larijani, left, the speaker of the Iranian parliament, and Mohammed Reza Fayyaz, right, the Iranian ambassador to the UAE, in Abu Dhabi.
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ABU DHABI // Ali Larijani, the speaker of the Iranian parliament, delivered a fiery address yesterday in which he repeatedly blamed the West, particularly the US and Israel, for plotting against the Muslim world. He also said that his country has evidence that Israel orchestrated the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists.

Speaking at the Parliamentary Union of Islamic Countries (Puic) conference, Mr Larijani also continued a campaign of vilification against the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), which is investigating the murder of Rafiq Hariri, the former Lebanese premier who was assassinated.

Iran sent to the Puic summit a 45-member delegation led by Mr Larijani after the speaker was told the UAE was planning to withdraw a proposal to create a body that would resolve conflicts between Muslim nations.

Mr Larijani also met with Sheikh Saud al Qassimi, the Ruler of Ras al Khaimah, and Abdulaziz al Ghurair, the speaker of the Federal National Council (FNC).

"Authoritarian governments have been busy for many years planting discord among the Islamic ummah," he said.

He reeled off a list of grievances against western powers, saying they were destroying Jerusalem's Islamic features and were forcing Palestinians to emigrate from their lands, in addition to maintaining the siege of Gaza.

"How can they, under the guise of fighting terrorism, continue occupying Afghanistan for many years and transforming this country into continuous destruction?" Mr Larijani asked.

Mr Larijani accused the West of failing to respond to what he termed "Zionist governmental terrorism", manifested in the assassinations of Mahmoud al Mabhouh, a Hamas operative killed in Dubai last year, and Iranian nuclear scientists.

"We have compelling documents that confirm the involvement of the Zionists in these assassinations," he said.

Mr Larijani dubbed the STL a "Zionist-American court" bent on destabilising Lebanon.

"Here we see America praising its stooge, this court that is undermining the stability and security of Lebanon," he said.

Lebanon's government collapsed last week after ministers from Hizbollah, the Iran-backed militia, resigned from the premier Saad Hariri's cabinet.

Mr Larijani went further, blaming the possible secession of south Sudan on Israel and the UK.

He also said the US abandoned its former allies in the Tunisian government after the overthrow of the former president Zine el Abidine Ben Ali over the weekend in an effort to retain its influence in Tunisia "under the guise of defending the Tunisian people".

Mr Larijani blamed what he termed "arrogant governments" for fuelling the "drumming and demagoguery" surrounding Iran's nuclear programme.