The current global financial crisis is payback for the West''s "crimes" and "aggressive" policies, Iran''s president said on Wednesday.

"Economic problems in Western countries have surfaced because of their crimes. The West has for centuries pursued colonialist, aggressive policies, seizing other nations'' riches," Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, speaking in Iran''s northern province of Gilan.

Ahmadinejad said the most recent example of the West''s colonialist policies was the "American invasion of Iraq," referring to the 2003 U.S.-led campaign to "to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction" that toppled Saddam Hussein. The oil-rich Middle East state has since plunged into sectarian and ethnic violence.

"They want control of all oil production in Iraq and the region at large," he said.

The Iranian leader said if the Western countries continue to disregard moral and religious values, their "destiny will be no better than that of historical tyrants."

He also said the U.S. and its allies had no moral right to demand the Islamic Republic halt its nuclear programs as they themselves have huge arsenals of nuclear weapons.

The United States and Israel have refused to rule out the possibility of military strikes against Iran over its refusal to halt its nuclear program. Iran says it needs nuclear technology to generate electricity. The country is so far under three sets of relatively mild UN sanctions over its defiance to suspend uranium enrichment.

The Iranian leader is known for provocative remarks like denying the Holocaust and calling for Israel to be wiped off the map.