October 25th, 2011
06:00 AM ET

Ahmadinejad offers his definition of Zionism

Last week, Fareed Zakaria interviewed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran. Here's a transcript of Ahmadinejad on Israel, Zionism and Iran's pre-Islamic past:

Fareed Zakaria: Your chief of staff has spoken a great deal about Iran's pre-Islamic past and said that Iran should be proud of it. Are you proud of Iran's pre-Islamic history?

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (through translator): We're always proud of our history. Iran has always been the center of friendship and civilization.

Fareed Zakaria: Your chief of staff has also said that Iran is friendly towards all peoples of the world, including the Israelis. Do you believe Iran should be friendly to the Israeli people?

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: People everywhere, ordinary people, what problems do they have? From the very beginning, we're against Zionists. Zionists are neither Christians nor Jewish. They have no religion. Religion is wealth and money. 

Fareed Zakaria: But what do you mean by that? Every person in Israel is by definition a Zionist because they believe in a state for the Jewish people.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (through translator): No, no. Zionism is a complicated and terrible party. And to most they have 10,000 members, and 2,000 main members.

Fareed Zakaria: What does it mean to you? So what does Zionism mean? The rest – you say only 10,000 people in Israel are Zionists?

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (through translator): No, I don't say they are all there. Some of them are in Europe, some of them are in the United States, and it constitutes a racist group and they consider themselves superior to others.

Fareed Zakaria: But you think most Israelis are not Zionists in the sense you mean it?

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (through translator): There's a large number of people who were brought from other countries. They had no job. No house. And they were promised to have jobs and housing. Recently we saw a few hundred, thousands of people stage a demonstration against the Zionists. And if the Zionists allow, we can see them in stations everywhere there.

Fareed Zakaria: So it sounds like you're saying that Iran could have peaceful relations with Israel if it adopted policies that you appreciate?

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: Zionists should go away and they should allow people to choose themselves. If the people of Palestine have the right for self determination, that will be fine. But the Palestinian people have been denied the right to self determination. That is clear.

The regime has been created to dominate the region. Because the regime has been created to secure the interests of some people in the United States and in Europe.

Watch more of my interview with Ahmadinejad here.

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Topics: GPS Show • Iran

soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. Thinker23

    This guy is either delusional or a liar. I do not think he is delusional, however, just like the leaders of the Soviet Union, the Nazi Germany and the North Korea were. They (and the leaders of Iran) created a "boogie man" for their peoples to be afraid of and to blame for all their problems.

    October 25, 2011 at 6:34 am | Reply
    • shahin

      I don't think he's a liar either. At least not as much as everyone would think. My opinion is that he is just extremely stupid.
      I wouldn't be surprised if he actually, truely, believed every word he said.
      You can still lie without knowing it.

      October 25, 2011 at 7:27 am | Reply
      • hass

        That Zionism is based on the idea of the superiority of some people over others? Hate to break the news to you but most of the world agrees which is why the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution stating that Zionism was Racism.

        October 25, 2011 at 9:58 am |
      • j. von hettlingen

        I don't think Ahmadinejad is stupid. He's very stubborn and self-willed. He loves to argue and say things that send people on a wild-goose chase. He certainly has an arbitrary definition for Zionism and feels no embarrassment in his contradicting himself. He condems Zionists and can be friendly towards Israelis at the same time.

        October 25, 2011 at 11:41 am |
      • Thinker23

        Hass... The UN General Assembly adopted a Resolution stating that labeling Zionism as racism was wrong and that Zionism WAS NOT racism. It was the first (and only) time the UN explicitly reversed its resolution. The truth, however, is that Zionism declares that the Jewish people, JUST LIKE ANY OTHER ethnic group of people, have a right for self-determination. No, Zionism IS NOT based on an idea of "superiority of some people over others". o the contrary, it is based on the idea of EQUALITY of the Jewish people to others.

        October 25, 2011 at 11:42 am |
      • Thinker23

        j. von hettlingen... I do not think that Ahmadinejad is stupid. I believe that he KNOWS the truth but tells these incredible hateful lies to his people hoping that most of them are stupid and that those who are not stupid will be force to be quiet by those who are. I do not believe that he or anyone else can be "friendly" to Israelis while "condemning" their right for self-determination.

        October 25, 2011 at 11:47 am |
      • hass

        Thinker23 – the only reason the UN General Assembly reversed the "Zionism=Racism" resolution was under US pressure when Israel supposedly agreed to a peace deal with the Palestinians that the same Israelis have ever since totally violated. Even Jews reject Zionism in greater and greater numbers: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/26/us/26religion.html

        October 25, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
      • Thinker23

        Hass... The only reason the UN adopted the "Zionism = racism" resolution in the first place was the pressure of the Soviet Union and its Arab allies. The FACT, however, is that, by definition, racism is DISCRIMINATION while Zionism declares EQUALITY. There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in common between the two.

        October 25, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • Esther Haman

      What? "delusional or a liar", what does that mean?! What is "delusional" about Zionists? Or what "Lie" are you referring to? It seems you are the only one here who is both "delusional or a liar". The Zionism is band by the UN as a Racist organization and practice. If you see the whole interview you will see that even Fareed Zakaria referred to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a an honest man. SO, again, what lie are you referring to?!

      What is clear is that we are caught with out pants down. We have supported the Zionist to invade and occupies the Islamic lands and to do what ever they want to the Palestinians and NO matter what we do, the facts and the history will show that we are not on the side of the justice. Our hand is bloody.

      Get real.

      October 25, 2011 at 10:02 am | Reply
      • Thinker23

        Esther... The fact is that Ahmadinejad declares hateful racist lies on every occasion. If he believes in his own words it means that he is DELUSIONAL. If not it means that he is A LIAR. Further, there are no "Islamic lands" as there are no Christian lands, Buddhist lands or Jewish lands. Land can belong to INDIVIDUALS (like John, Haim or Mustafa), to ORGANIZATIONS (like a University or a church) or to STATES (like Canada, Egypt or Israel). There are no lands set aside for exclusive ownership by the Islamic religion. Still further, if the Palestinians did not like Israeli treatment they would NEGOTIATE a better deal long ago. They had plenty of opportunities.

        October 25, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  2. dan

    wow. that guy (ahmadinejad) has no idea what he is talking about

    October 25, 2011 at 8:46 am | Reply
    • Esther Haman

      If you are reffering to the story that was made up about him to eliminate Israel from the map etc, then you are are wrong and that was another propaganda. He never said anything like that.

      So, you think by declariuing "there is no Islamic Land or Christian land,..etc" Then it is just free for taking and occupying, as we did here in the US?!! Likle how dare the Palestinians were on your land while you were in Europe?! It was not the Palestinains who sent the Jews to Europe in the first place. So, Jews need to take their land back from the Romans and the Christians, from the days of the Inquisitions and Natzi Germany. Why Should the Palestinians be displaced and their houses be demolished or bulldozed over their head?!! What justifies after WWII for the Jews to invade Palestine?! Because once their ancient Jews used to live there and had a temple there? Well the Aztecs and the American Indians used to live here and Mexico, should they be allowed to have their society and country put back together here?! I In any case the ethenic cleansing of the Palestinins is not an answer to the Jewis demise in the past.

      Get real.

      October 28, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Reply
      • John

        you just completely contradicted yourself and i don't think you even know it. better leave the talking to emotionally stable adults, while you hysterically yell rhetoric you heard from other people.

        November 2, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  3. hass

    Even American Jews no longer identify with Zionism.

    October 25, 2011 at 9:57 am | Reply
    • Jeff Fischer

      Hass – you are quite ignorant. Count me as an American Jew who strongly supports Zionism.

      October 31, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Reply
      • Esther Haman

        ignorant is as an ignorant does. You are added. No problem.

        November 1, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
  4. Haim

    The problem is not what Ahmadinutjob says. The problem is that Zacaria agrees.

    October 25, 2011 at 11:26 am | Reply
  5. hass

    Jews reject Zionism, just as Ahmadinejad said.

    October 25, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Reply
  6. Tina L. Moore orAirwnd Cloud

    The issue of Zionism is in many conflicts regarding the race factor of those in the essence of pure blood or cross blood. Therefore the issue of what Zionism in these time "I" do not understand what they are talking about. All, "I" know that Israel has nothing to do with Zionsim these days.

    October 25, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Reply
  7. Eleventh

    Translation is very poorly done as is the case with CNN, in order to show the guy as stupid as possible. The reality is that Zionists are controlling all major banks and corporations in west a well known fact. These are the people who make wars and steal from ordinary people by using phony words such as bail out. Why cant a student with massive university debt get a bail out? Why it has to be a Zionist owned corporation? These are the real questions. Ahmadinejad is a genius politically speaking. Such media gimmickry to show him stupid will not work. Already US is handing over Baghdad to Iran next month. Afghanistan is scheduled for delivery to Iran by the end of Ahmadinejad's term in office. The guy has conquered two countries while in office without actually being in the war. Additionally under his watch Iran became a nuclear country and became capable of space launches. Not to mention that Iran has the world's fastest growth rate in science and technology and has implemented an economic reform that IMF is praising. So I do not think such pity media propaganda will have any effect on this man's place in history. No one is perfect by Ahmadinejad by comparison is miles ahead of American and European leaders in intellectual capabilities. At least he is not a Zionist.

    October 25, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Reply
    • Mycology

      Well if you have such "facts" of this "reality" you speak of, surely you can...

      ya know, proove it? provide some evidence? do anything other than make poorly veiled assaults on Jewish nationhood and the right to a state in their homeland?

      I bet you think spain and lower france are "islamic lands" too, huh? Get real. Zionism = The right of the Jewish people to live in their land, and to have self-determination there. 1.5 Million (1 in 5 Israeli citizens) Arab Muslims live in Israel as full citizens with all the same rights as Jewish and Christian citizens.

      stop lying, your soul is in danger

      October 25, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Reply
      • Eleventh

        That is why we have internet search engines in 21st century. If you can not use an internet search engine tell some one younger to operate it for you and search for all my statements so you can see for yourself it has all the evidence to back it up. More importantly the evidence is western and open sourced. Go ahead.
        As for your query about Islamic lands, here is a short informative clip, hope you will enjoy it, the reality speaks for itself:

        October 25, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
      • Thinker23

        Eleventh... It is possible to find thousands of stories about alien abductions on the Internet. Are you sure that all these stories are TRUE? I'm not... and this is the difference between grown-up adults using FACTS AND LOGIC to form their opinions and teenagers (or those who stopped at the teen level) who believe what they WANT to believe even if it's the most unbelievable illogical lie that contradicts both facts and logic.

        October 25, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
      • Esther Haman

        OK you asked for it. In case of Iraq war, it was Rupert Murtuck and company that created the phobia about Saddam Hussein's WMD by his propaganda about the "Yellow Cake" that he supposedly had purchased in Africa. He used the same tactic with Iran and generated the phobia about Iran after he claimed a stolen Laptop computer from Iran contained the design of a nuclear Trigger , which was a total lie and it could have started a war. Do need more?!

        October 30, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • Ted

      I like how you say the "reality" is and then spew a delusional fantasy about how Jews and Zionists control the world. Let me guess, you read the protocols of zion and just assumed every word was true, and set up your belief system based on that. and they wonder why jews are paranoid about another holocaust? maybe because people like you back in the 30's read mein kempf and had the same unsubstantiated, anti-semitic, racist, idiotic reaction like you did.

      November 2, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Reply
  8. Marsha Gould

    I am a great fan of GPS. As an American living in Mexico, I depend on the show in English for clear thinking and analysis of the world events. I especially enjoy the format of intelligent debate by people with different views and perspectives.

    I was EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED that GPS gave Amadinijad, a small, frightened, biased man, a one hour forum to rant on about Zionism and Holocaust denial. Unfortunately, Fareed's usual politeness to guests did not challenge this man, and made it look like Fareed agreed with his perspectives.

    To me, this was like giving Hitler an hour because it was an exclusive interview and might get good ratings! Fareed is one person on TV whose views are usually clear – and from my perspective – correct. I think this show was a grave misstep!!

    October 30, 2011 at 9:27 am | Reply
    • Esther Haman

      These Biased propaganda that you are spreading is not going to help anything. The simile that you are trying to portray does not apply. Iran has over 40000 Jewish population and they have representation in the Iranian parliament etc. Iranian freed the Jew fro Babylon 3000 years ago and they lived together ever since.

      So, these type of ignorant rant and hateful accusation will only make you look foolish.

      Get real.

      November 7, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Reply
  9. bobalu

    To a normal brained human who is grounded in reality a zionist is defined as someone who supports the jewish state. In his world which is supported by numerous poorly made youtube videos, zionism is synonimous with new world order freemasons, illuminati knights of templar, skull and bones and all that global conspiracy crap. These fantasies are quite popular in the muslim world and amongst losers in the west because they explain to anyone who is a failure that it is not their fault, that there is an underground conspiracy that prevents them from reaching their potential.

    November 23, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Reply
  10. E. Soto

    Capitalists. People who run the world. Duh. I think he is a Humble human being, Zionism largely started with Jewish bankers back in the day.

    November 23, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Reply
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    March 19, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Reply
  12. ed

    I think he knows what is going on. We should pay close attention as amerikans. He may know who the man behind the curtains really is.

    March 27, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Reply
  13. Oscar

    You people who called him an idiot are hypocrites. You only fail to understand what he is saying, because you are close-minded. What he said is correct. Zionism is used for political and social domination over the world purporting to be pro-Jewish, but actually they aren't.

    The founder of Zionism, Theodor Herzl, said: “It is essential that the sufferings of Jews. . . become worse. . . this will assist in realization of our plans. . .I have an excellent idea. . . I shall induce anti-semites to liquidate Jewish wealth. . . The anti-semites will assist us thereby in that they will strengthen the persecution and oppression of Jews. The anti-semites shall be our best friends”. (From his Diary, Part I, pp. 16)

    True Torah Jews against Zionism. Check out their site. http://www.jewsagainstzionism.com/zionism/zanda.cfm

    June 7, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Reply
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    July 31, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Reply
  15. Book

    "A jewish nation for the jewish people" is about as Racist as it gets. The jews in NYC and Miami and Hollywood obviously don't buy it either...lol.

    November 12, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Reply
  16. Sakkie de Kok

    Amadinejahd is a brilliant man. The reason the majority of Americans don´t agree with anything he says is a direct result of zionist brainwashing. They own the media, hollywood, and the government. Poor America. Once a great land where the people believed in freedom, has now been reduced to a zionist mafia power base. You have been sold out.

    November 22, 2012 at 6:39 am | Reply
  17. ScarlettOHara

    Thank God this man has the nerve to say aloud what no goy head of state would dare to say. I hope Iran continues to defy Israel and its ZOG goon squad America.

    November 22, 2012 at 8:26 am | Reply

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