Fareed Zakaria speaks with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad about his statements on Israel, his country's nuclear program, and what he thinks about U.S. warnings. To watch the full interview, tune into GPS this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET.
I want to ask you if you recognize why people get so nervous by your comments about Israel? Because you're the president of a country. Presidents of countries do not speak like this. They do not speak about the elimination of another member state of the United Nations. They don't speak about wiping it off the map. And when you take that rhetoric and you add to it the fact that Iran is developing a nuclear program, it makes many people, in the United States, outside the United States, worried that the intention of Iran is to use that nuclear capacity to eliminate Israel, to wipe it off the map.
So really, the people of the United States are concerned? They are shaking? Where do you – what do you base this on? The rest of the nations are worried, preoccupied and trembling at this thought? What for?
We are friends with all nations. Yourself, as a reporter, you must know as a member of the media, you must know that Ahmadinejad is quite popular is quite loved, and loves everyone equally...For seven years, I have been answering this for you.
Every time you answer it in a way which raises more doubts. The problem that people have is that you talk about elimination. You talk about wiping off –
Now how do you – how do you pretend to speak on behalf of the people? It raises doubts and it stirs doubts in whom? People have given you their vote of confidence in order to represent their all encompassing view?
You are representing a media outlet and representing their views. Let's go to the streets of New York tonight, right now. And let's interview the people and find out what they say.
I would love to see him get on the streets of New York, preferably north of 96th Street and get a serious can of whupass!!!
ATTENTION AHMADINEJAD: Everyone who is posting here, whether intelligently or not, is being sarcastic. Personally, I very dearly hope you are not this Narcissistic, for all our sakes.
As an American, I am not very happy with Israel on a lot of fronts. But if you are willing to say you want them wiped off the map and keep ducking the question when pressed about why you said it you will will find no sympathy here or elsewhere in the world.
This guy needs to wake up! He thinks the streets of NY like him!? Even if he should die soon (and we pray that he will), the whole earth is too close a place to bury him for us.
Iran claims its nuclear research is entirely for peaceful purposes – for energy and medical nuclear technologies.
We're supposed to take them at their word. Which is ludicrous, considering taquiyya, the Islamic rule that tells ALL Muslims to lie to infidels like us. On any subject involving Islam, Muslims will ALL lie – including Mr. Zakaria. But he has to try to walk a thin line, to appear that he favors democracy. If he's still a Muslim, he CAN'T. It is blasphemous to do so – at least to do so sincerely. Lying about it is another matter, of course. That doesn't have to mean that he really favors Iran having nukes. It's quite possible he's Sunni, and to him, the Iran regime is a true enemy. There's no way to be sure.
They won't allow inspectors. We've wondered why for a long time. After all, if their motives really WERE for those benign purposes, you'd think they'd be dragging in the inspectors, along with as many international journalists as they can get – to SHOW OFF their technology. Therefore, their refusal to allow inspectors can only mean that they ARE working on nukes. Secretiveness about something you're proud of just doesn't make sense.
There's more, though.
They claim that nuclear bombs are against Islam. This is a provable lie. If you check back to the '90's and before in a Reader's Guide, you'll find that Iran was SLATHERING for nukes back then. If it's against Islam now, wasn't it equally so back then? Or did Allah change his mind? Or were they lying then, or are they lying now? Most likely the latter.
Now they want nuclear reactors. They will build and use them. But when they say they're necessary to improve their electric grid for the people, the question begs: Why haven't they already done it long ago – with OIL? They're swimming in it, so it'd be very cheap. The reactors aren't necessary in the least. Yet they can't list even ONE reason that makes the reactors a reasonable project to build.
There's a little factoid about nuclear reactors: we learned from Fukishima just HOW vulnerable reactors are to earthquakes. Iran is profoundly seismic, and has many earthquakes every year, and is renowned for the very powerful quakes it gets. What WORSE place to go building lots of nuclear reactors than Iran? Each one is a meltdown, waiting to happen, because sooner or later they ALL will do so.
I don't hear the international community even MENTIONING the dire risk of nuclear reactors on Iran's earthquake-prone soil. But those meltdowns won't just affect Iran. The repercussions will spread hard radiation clouds for thousands of miles. Therefore those reactors are NOT merely the internal concern of Iran, with every neighboring country being told, "hands off!"
The very fact that Iran's leaders would CONSIDER nuclear reactors in places where they will surely melt down one day is the very height of callous disregard for human life. Especially with all that oil that could do just as well – better, actually. Iran's propaganda has the Iranian people believing nulear reactors are "clean" – I'd bet they've radically censored all news of Fukishima to their people. They've "gotta" keep thinking it's clean, you see? That backdrop we've all seen of blue sky, fluffy white clouds and white doves – is always present when Ahmadinejad speaks to his people about nuclear energy. Of course, even if the radiation was right there, nobody'd see it.
There's no way to know whether these currency problems will result in unseating Ahmadinejad or not. Even if it does, it won't be enough, because the real problem is their "Supreme Leader," Khameini, who wants to have nukes, and that's just IT. He WILL have his nukes. But how can HE be unseated by the people? It's entirely likely that many Iranians have no great love of nuclear reactors – certainly not enough to regard the regime as right for being so recalcitrant. Most Iranians DO want to eat. Blaming their "enemies" isn't filling anyone's belly. Backing down from the lust for nukes would remove sanctions and people could eat again. Most would make that choice, but the regime never will. Even an overthrow of Ahmadinejad won't be good enough, or even an overthrow of Khameini. The people don't want them, but they DO want to continue their Islamic State. To that, they ARE loyal. Which means any revolution there would result in new faces, nothing more. BTW, Iranians WERE Persians when the Arabs conquered them, but over the years the Arabs have – true to their values – forced their blood to be mixed with Persians. There aren't many true Persians left. Most are mixed by now, and the Arab part is still loyal to the Arab. Blood shouldn't count, but where people define their loyalties by it, it DOES count.
When's the next presidential election over there? It can't come too soon. Not that much will change, but at least SOME improvement might happen this time. It'd be good to have them put in a new "Supreme Leader" who retracts the fatwa that tells Shi'ite men they can marry baby girls and sodomize them. But will it stop the building of nukes? Don't hold your breath.
WOW THE COMMENTS ARE SURELY FULL OF JIDF
TRY HARDER LOSERS
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The Global Public Square is where you can make sense of the world every day with insights and explanations from CNN's Fareed Zakaria, leading journalists at CNN, and other international thinkers. Join GPS editor Jason Miks and get informed about global issues, exposed to unique stories, and engaged with diverse and original perspectives.
Every week we bring you in-depth interviews with world leaders, newsmakers and analysts who break down the world's toughest problems.
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Check out all of Fareed's Washington Post columns here:
Obama as a foreign policy president?
Why Snowden should stand trial in U.S.
Hillary Clinton's truly hard choice
China's trapped transition
Obama should rethink Syria strategy
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