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Iran President Demands World War Reparations

When Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad draws attention for his views on World War II, the topic inevitably seems to be the Holocaust.

However, Ahmadinejad is now trying to spotlight another aspect of the war -- not in Europe, but in Iran itself.

In a January 9 speech, Ahmadinejad called for "reparations" for the West's treatment of Iran during World War II.

During the conflict, Iran was divided by Britain and the Soviet Union. Iran served as a source of oil and a transit route for American war materials to reach the Soviet Union -- what the Allies came to call their "victory bridge."

Iran was also the location of the 1943 Tehran conference, where Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin met to decide war strategy.

For its role as "victory bridge" -- what Ahmadinejad says was the "determining factor in the war" -- the Iranian president says his country has never been compensated.

Despite such rhetoric, Ahmadinejad insisted on the seriousness of his reparations demands: "We are not the sort of nation that would only say things for propaganda purposes."

Ahmadinejad's comments come three weeks after he called for compensation from Britain for its actions in Iran during World War I.

-- Michael Hirshman

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