Syrian man defends throwing shoe at Ahmadinejad

The Syrian man who threw a shoe at Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Tuesday during his visit to Cairo said the incident is nothing compared to the destruction Iran has supported in Syria.

"I would have throttled him if I could due to my extreme sense of oppression and agitation," Ezz Eddin Khalil told Turkish Anadolu news agency Wednesday.

Tehran is one of the few remaining allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's embattled government, which has been unable to put down a nearly two-year revolt. The United Nations classifies the conflict that has claimed more than 60,000 lives as a civil war.

The Iranian president is in Cairo this week to meet with Egyptian officials after he attended the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Summit.

Khalil said that if he saw Ahmadinejad again, he would do the same.

"[I chose to] throw my shoe at Ahmadinejad because presidents have a [psychological] complex against shoes as they represent humiliation to every tyrant, like George W. Bush and other presidents."

Khalil said he was a sheikh at a mosque in Aleppo, Syria, but has been living in Egypt since 2004 to study Islamic Sharia at Al-Azhar University.

"The security leaders respectfully took me away after the incident and calmed me down. I sat with them for some time during which I gave them some information about me, then I left," he said.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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