Iranian president backs single currency

Speaking in Russia, the Iranian president has delivered a speech suggesting methods for increasing SCO development.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s proposals include “broader consultations in economic, political and cultural spheres and a more active role for the body’s secretariat”.

President Ahmadinejad came to Yekaterinburg on a one-day visit to mingle with the leaders of the world's largest emerging economies.

While Iran's presidential election is over amidst opposition claims that the vote was rigged and a recount may lie ahead, still the country's re-elected leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is moving on with the job.

However, he was tight-lipped on the ongoing post-election protests and violence on Iranian streets, while lashing out at Washington.

“America is consumed by economic and political crises, and there is no hope for an immediate resolution. Allies of the US are not in a position to sort out these problems either, and this shows that the international mechanisms based around imperial ambitions are surrendering their position in the world and moving closer to the end of their domination. Fundamental changes are vital and unavoidable,” he said.

Looking for an international seal of approval – or putting on a business-as-usual face?

The spotlight was firmly on the Iranian leader as he sat down for talks at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit that brings together Russia, China and four central Asian states. Iran maintains an observer status, though it is eager to join as a full-fledged member.

The SCO gathered to seek to end the global credit crunch, with Russia saying the dollar has failed to live up to expectations.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad echoed President Medvedev’s ideas about the use of regional currencies. Ahmadinejad believes that member states could “facilitate and expand economic cooperation through the use of their currencies and the creation of an SCO bank”.

And from a long-term perspective, he proposed to immediately begin work on the single currency.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s alleged landslide victory has sparked some of Iran’s worst rioting in a decade amid claims that the election was rigged. But he has brushed off the demonstrations as a few twigs and splinters – the splinters, it seems, not being large enough to become a thorn in his side.

“Ahmadinejad is confident. His coming to Russia in times of such troubles back home shows this. But Iran is a county under international sanctions, partially isolated from the rest of the world. Ahmadinejad has to show that he has partners,” believes Elena Suponina, a journalist for Vremya Novostei daily.

Ahmadinejad delayed his planned visit by one day, prompting much stir about whether he would attend at all. But this time the outspoken newsmaker shunned talking to the frenzied media and his brief chat with Dmitry Medvedev was held behind closed doors.

Following his meetings, Ahmadinejad left on the very day he arrived. But wherever he goes he’s sure to grab the headlines.

“He came, he showed his face, he has got what he wanted… which was some sort of international endorsement, pictures of him with president Medvedev sitting around the table with other world leaders,” said Tony Halpin, the Moscow Times bureau chief.