Ahmadinejad to seek UN compensation for WWII / 12-19-09 / PressTV

Iran's president says he will soon write to the UN Secretary-General asking for his country to be compensated for World War II damages.

"We will seek compensation for World War II damages. I have assigned a team to calculate the costs," Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said at a Friday press conference in the Danish capital.

"I will write a letter to the UN Secretary-General [Ban Ki-moon] asking for Iran to be compensated for the damages," he added, pointing out that such a move is necessary to ensure that justice was served.

Ahmadinejad told the reporters that the countries that won the Second World War had inflicted a lot of damage on Iran by invading the country and using its resources.

The president added that while the former Soviet Union, the United States and Britain received compensation after the conflict, Iran had been given nothing to make up for the suffering its people had endured.

"During this period, the Iranian people were subjected to a great deal of pressure and the country suffered a great deal of damages but Iran was not paid any compensation," Ahmadinejad explained.

At the start of World War II, Iran declared its neutrality, but the country was soon invaded by both Britain and the Soviet Union on August 26, 1941 in Operation Countenance.

Iran's refusal to give into Allied demands and expel all German nationals from the country was the excuse they needed to occupy the country. Within months of the invasion Iran became known as "The Bridge of Victory" to the Allies.

When invading the Soviet Union in 1941, the Allies urgently needed to transport war materiel across Iran to the Soviet Union.

The effects of the war, however, were very catastrophic for Iran. Food and other essential items were scarce and severe inflation imposed great hardship on the lower and middle classes as the needs of foreign troops were prioritized.

"Not only was Iran deprived of any compensation for World War II, but 10 years later, the Americans even went as far as arranging a coup to reverse a popular uprising that had led to the nationalization of oil," said Ahmadinejad.

In 1953, Washington orchestrated a coup against the popular and democratically-elected Iranian prime minister of the time, Mohammad Mosaddeq, whose efforts led to the nationalization of the country's oil industry.

Almost half a century later, former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright acknowledged the pivotal role that the US played in the coup, coming closer than any other American diplomat to apologizing for the intervention.

"The Eisenhower administration believed its actions were justified for strategic reasons... But the coup was clearly a setback for Iran's political development. And it is easy to see now why many Iranians continue to resent this intervention by America," she said in March 2000.

Ahmadinejad who had travelled to Copenhagen to take part in the Climate Change Summit, returned to Iran on Saturday morning.