Ahmadinejad blames U.S., Israel for wars

( AP ) - Iran's president blamed the United States and Israel for the world's problems Thursday in a lecture to Sudanese officials and intellectuals during his visit to Sudan.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's comments came as Iran and Sudan face mounting international criticism - Iran over its nuclear activities and Sudan over the conflict in Darfur.

Earlier, Iranian and Saudi media reported that the hardline president was planning a trip to Saudi Arabia in coming days. The rival countries have been holding talks for weeks in an effort to defuse conflicts in the region, including the sectarian strife in Lebanon and Iraq.

In his lecture Thursday titled " Iran and the World," the hardline president reiterated arguments that he has made repeatedly throughout the standoff with the United States and its Western allies over Iran's nuclear activities.

"There is no place in the world that suffers from divisions and wars unless America or the Zionists' fingerprints are seen there," Ahmadinejad told his audience in Farsi translated into Arabic.

He urged Muslims to rally behind Iran and accused detractors of Iran's nuclear program of trying to prevent a developing country from making scientific advances.

"Our strength and the cornerstone of the victory is in our (Muslims') unity ... we have to pay attention to the devils who want to cause divisions among us," the Iranian president said.

"They want to keep science in their hands only ... they don't want the rest of the world to progress," he said referring Iran's nuclear program.

Ahmadinejad arrived in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital, Wednesday in a show of solidarity with Sudan.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir declared support for Iran's nuclear ambitions while Ahmadinejad said Iran viewed Sudan's progress as important as its own.

Permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany have begun discussing a new round of sanctions on Iran for failing to halt uranium enrichment by late February.

Meanwhile, the International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor accused a junior member of al-Bashir's Cabinet and another suspect of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

The Sudanese government has rejected the allegations and said it would not hand the men over for trial.

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