Jon Snow: Mr President, both Britain and America have accused Iran of fighting a proxy war inside Iraq.
Mahmood Ahmadinedjad : In the Name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful. The Americans and the British should correct themselves. If they continue like this, their defeat will repeat. The British made a good gesture when they moved out of Basra and we hope this process continues. Our country [Iran] is damaged by Iraq’s insecurity because our two countries are so connected through thousands of years. Iraq is great nation.
JS. Do you regard it as a victory for Iran over Britain that they left Basra?
MA. You think you were defeated in Iraq by the Iraqi people or by Iran?
JS. By Iran, by formal forces, revolutionary guards, supporting the factions in southern Iraq, well by Iran.
MA. It’s a mistake of yours. That’s why future decisions will be wrong as well. We hope responsible people should understand that Iran is against any form of insecurity and attack and that Iraqis are able to defend themselves.
JS. The British say they have troops killed by bombs made in Iran.
MA. We have influence all over Iraq because be have good relations with the Iraqi people, including the Kurds, the Sunnis and the Shiahs. They are very good friends of ours.
JS. Will you use your influence to free the five British hostages held in Iraq.
MA. We can help solve many problems in Iraq. We can help secure Iraq. We can help the attackers and the invaders go out of Iraq. If the American and British governments correct themselves with regard to Iraq, all sorts of problems will be solved, there won’t be any need for these conflicts. We hope they recognise the Iraqi people’s rights, but they are there to invade the region. As long as they do not recognise the rights of the Iraqi people, these conditions will continue. If the Iraqi government requests us, we are ready to help.
JS. Dr Larijani (Secretary General of Iran’s National Security Council) has repeated there will be no freeze on the enrichment of uranium, and immediately America is calling for sanctions at the UN Security Council. What will happen if there are sanctions against you?
MA. This problem is not very clear as we are asked to obey whatever is put to us, but we did not exercise all the rights that we have. The main problem is the enmity of America towards Iran.
JS. But your secrecy indicates that you really want a (nuclear) bomb? Many people would say you probably feel threatened by Israel, by Pakistan, but you do want a bomb don’t you?
MA. We do not want bombs. We are against (nuclear) bombs. There are many reasons why we are against it.
JS. Will you take me to Natanz (Iranian Uranium Enrichment Plant)? Nobody has ever been further than the front door. Will you take me there deep down?
MA. Will the British and American government let us inspect their atomic bases.
JS. Let me ask you, hand on heart, you do not want a bomb?
MA. The American and the British have the bomb, what’s the use of it. We do not need it. We have human solutions for Israel as well. If there is a general referendum by the people of Palestine, everything will be solved and we think it’s a human solution. We are against war.
JS. You have said you want Israel off the map. You really cannot accept the existence of Israel?
MA. No, we do not recognise (Israel). They are attackers they are illegal. But our methods are human. I ask you, where is the Soviet Union now? Isn’t it gone, without war. Let the Palestinian people decide.
JS. You speak with much more determination. The collapse of the Soviet Union was a surprise. The thing with Israel, you are saying now you want it out?
MA. Because we are studying the region, the problems in the region properly. We do not deceive ourselves. We think Israel is an invader and it’s cruel and it has not got a united public. All other neighbouring countries are against it. It cannot continue its life.
JS. Do you regret denying the holocaust?
MA. I had two questions about holocaust (of Jewish Europeans). I am sorry that instead of answering academic questions, they created political issues of it. One question is that if the holocaust is a historical matter there should be research about it. I do not know why you are trying to blame me since my question is clear, that history should be researched properly and that there will be new things to discover about it. Why don’t they let us do it? This is suspicious. My second question is, if there was holocaust, where did it happen? What was Palestinian people role in it? They did not have any mistake in it. Why should they be punished? Why should they be killed? Why should they be invaded?
JS. The majority of people in the world will not agree with you.
MA. You are mistaken. If you make a referendum in Europe, you will see that the majority of Europeans agree with me.
JS. Are you saying that you will never cease (uranium) enrichment?
MA. Why should we stop it while America and Britain does not stop theirs? What is the point?
JS. You do not fear American or Israeli bombs?
MA. There is no reason, no. There are bodies in America who are entrusted to use warfare and force but we do not believe in war and it’s the last resort. There is one question I have to ask you. Why should not American (nuclear) programmes be stopped but ours should?
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says his country has no problems with the British government, that he prefers to work more with Europeans because European people have known two wars, and they have suffered all the consequences. He also says to the British people that he is sorry that British soldiers have been killed in Iraq. He argues that peace should exist and condemns invasions where people are killed. He says his message is one of friendship and love for all nations and all human beings. He feels sorry for the poor soldiers who do not know to which part of the world where they are sent. He asks why should they be killed, and says that British youths should be in their own country serving their own people. He offers his help and says that this war (of occupation) should end and pleads for peace everywhere.
On a general note, Jon Snow’s questions and comments are based on the flawed assumptions that the invaders are right in what they are doing and he finds no problems with their bombs which they use to kill others in their own country. He ignores the legitimacy of people’s resistance to occupation and blames Iran for the Iraqi resistance movements. He is completely ignorant of the fact that weapons are bought both on the open and black markets. He does not seem to know that Afghans, Iraqis and Palestinians are being terrorised and killed by American and British bombs. He also finds no problem with the British, the Americans and the Israelis possessing nuclear weapons, and in one question he even let out that the Iranian President should fear the « American or Israeli bombs ». In another question, Jon Snow even pulled Pakistan against Iran by making out that Iran feels ‘threatened’ by Pakistan in a clear attempt to provoke tension between the two. He is also very biased on the subject of what has become known as the holocaust of Jewish Europeans by not agreeing to the further research questions of the President, while ignoring the tens of millions of non-Jewish Europeans, including 27 million Russians, who were also killed during World War II. Jon Snow does not also recognise the fact that the Palestinian people are not responsible for what happened to Jewish Europeans who have invaded their country, and clearly wants their continuing brutal and cruel occupation of Palestine.
It should be noted that, in general, the British press have not reported fully on the very pertinent contents of this interview which exposes the British foreign policy to its bare bone, and they certainly do not wish to keep reminding people of them. They have limited their reporting to the allegation that the President had said that he ‘apologises’ for the British being killed in Iraq, which is untrue since the President never accepted any part in their deaths. The British press do not also accurately report what the President had said about Palestine and the historical research about the holocaust.
M Rafic Soormally
14 September 2007