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Sunday, September 24, 2006

The WaPo's Lally Weymouth Talks To Ahmadinejad

The appeasement press is at it again. Lally Weymouth had an interview with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (we are guessing it was prior to his departure), and the interview is supposedly "hard-hitting." Of course we are talking about the WaPo here, which seems to be a fairer paper at times than others, but the dinosaur media never seems to learn. That is evident in this interview. (For our readers, Ms. Weymouth's questions are colored in the regular green I use to cite stories; President Ahmadinejad's answers are in red.)

Do you think it would be in Iran's best interest to move toward a normal relationship with the United States?

We are interested in having talks with everyone. We believe that talks are much better than threats and confrontation. We are currently holding talks with many countries. I have said before that the United States is no exception, but the U.S. administration -- that is, a section of the U.S. administration -- does not create the right circumstances. It destroys chances for constructive talks.

Because a part of the administration wants to overthrow your regime?

It is the behavior I am talking about; the attitude is inappropriate. They believe that they own the entire world so they speak from that position, looking down at us -- even when they meet us. If they change their behavior, it is possible to talk about everything. Some politicians in the United States think that the nuclear issue is a way to put pressure on Iran, but they are wrong. One that has actually produced and used nuclear bombs cannot claim that they now want to stop proliferation.

Im other words, Mahmoud feels dissed, and he is not taking it any longer. Please. I am so sick of this "respect us" garbage from Iran. For what reasons should the world respect this regime. It quashes the freedom of its people, it funds, trains, and gives sanctuary to terrorist groups--namely Hezbollah--and it is working on creating nuclear weapons. Again, what respect should be given other than simple, common courtesy?

Why don't you let the IAEA inspectors back in, as the U.N. Security Council demanded last summer?

The Security Council's involvement is, in fact, illegal. We are working under the framework of the IAEA, and the cameras are on our sites. Could you please show me at least one report by the IAEA on the United States' nuclear facilities?

As the head of state of Iran, he can make a formal request of the IAEA to see their reports on the United States' IAEA report. Of course, there is nothing in that report that would even concern President Ahmadinejad. While it does talk about our weapons, it also talks the peaceful means we utilize nuclear power, such as making electricity, uses in medicine including cancer treatments and MRI machines, etc. We are open about how we use our technology. However the military applications will remain classified. And as one of the eight predominant nations on the planet, that is within our right, and it is guaranteed under our agreement with the IAEA.

Are you really serious when you say that Israel should be wiped off the face of the Earth?

We need to look at the scene in the Middle East -- 60 years of war, 60 years of displacement, 60 years of conflict, not even a day of peace. Look at the war in Lebanon, the war in Gaza -- what are the reasons for these conditions? We need to address and resolve the root problem.

Your suggestion is to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth?

Our suggestion is very clear: . . . Let the Palestinian people decide their fate in a free and fair referendum, and the result, whatever it is, should be accepted. . . . The people with no roots there are now ruling the land.

You've been quoted as saying that Israel should be wiped off the face of the Earth. Is that your belief?

What I have said has made my position clear. If we look at a map of the Middle East from 70 years ago . . .

Ahmadinejad only wants to go back to the point where the Palestinians were given their land, after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, when it became the Palestine Mandate. And for the record it was the British that oversaw that mandate. After World War II, the British withdrew their "sponsorship", and in the framework of a United Nations mandate the state of Israel was formed--precisely in the same spot it was 2000 years ago. At that time, the Palestinian Arabs were located in where modern-day Jordan is. The Jordanians did not wish the Palestinians back within their borders. If President Ahmadinejad has a problem with that, I suggest he take it up with Jordan, not Israel.

So, the answer is yes, you do believe that it should be wiped off the face of the Earth?

Are you asking me yes or no? Is this a test? Do you respect the right to self-determination for the Palestinian nation? Yes or no? Is Palestine, as a nation, considered a nation with the right to live under humane conditions or not? Let's allow those rights to be enforced for these 5 million displaced people.

The "yes or no" question was asked three questions ago. His answer is more than revealing in his blatant attempt to not say what he wants to. The answer, quite simply, is yes. As long as he continues to cite maps from sixty or seventy years ago, he wishes Israel removed from the Earth. It was "not there" then, and he would prefer them to be gone now.

If the Palestinian people decided that they wanted a two-state solution, would you support that decision?

The politicians in the United States should allow the Palestinians to vote, and then we'll all respect the results. They won't even accept a small Palestinian state. That's why we think the root cause of the crisis must be addressed. Jews, like other individuals, will have to be respected. It's not necessary to occupy the land of others, to displace them, to imprison their young people and to destroy their homes and agricultural fields and to attack neighboring countries.

We will not accept the "two-state" solution? What has practically every president in the last decade been trying to do. Clinton had his Oslo accords. President Bush had his negotiations with the Israelis. They allowed the vote, and were willing to give the Palestinians their chance. What did the people do? By an overwhelming 80%, these people put a terrorist group in charge of their government. To people who are not off their rocker (of course this excludes Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) that is a sign that those people like that sort of rule. The Israelis, however, cannot live next to a people that consistently feel that they need to be destroyed.

What is your analysis of Hezbollah in Lebanon today? What has been the impact of the war?

Everybody has said that the attacks of the Israeli government against Lebanon were pre-planned. The question is: The planes that leveled Lebanon, the laser bombs, where did they come from? Who provided the Zionists with the armaments? Who prevented a cease-fire in the beginning?

Here is the heart of his propoganda, and Ms. Weymouth, thus far, has done a good job of allowing President Ahmadinejad to hang himself. Here is a prime example of it. He questions where Israel got their weapons. The same could be asked of the Hezbollah rockets that pounded Israel. In this conflict, Hezbollah struck deeper than before. In addition to that, there was a report during that war that Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops were among the dead in Lebanon. Glass houses, Mr. President; You and your baseball bat need to go home before you bite off more than you can chew.

I think a section within the U.S. administration must take a new look at the Middle East. They should not assume that they can fix the problems of the Middle East through war.

The problem with that twisted logic is that we do not start the wars over there. They occur when diplomacy fails, and it has failed so much in the last thirty years. And President Ahmadinejad is remiss in remembering how the current regime came to power in Iran. It was through a coup; the use of naked violence to overthrow the legitimate leader and government of that nation.A government, I might add, that was "too friendly" to the United States in the radical's eyes.

In your meeting with the Iraqi prime minister last week, did any ideas emerge as to how to stabilize the situation in Iraq?

Saddam was a detested individual, no doubt, and although he was supported by a group of American politicians during the eight-year war with Iran, we nonetheless were happy when he left. This paved the way for the American government to improve their relations with the people in the region, but they lost the opportunity -- they decided to occupy Iraq in search of oil and their own interests. . . . The Iraqi nation has deep roots -- an ancient, civilized culture -- it cannot accept to remain under occupation. It cannot accept that its authorities are told on a daily basis what to do by American authorities. In the past years, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians have been killed. Even worse than what it was under Saddam.

So nice to see that he is using Democrat talking points. We went their for "oil?" It is a typical talking point, and completely wrong. If we really had wanted oil, why not simply open up ANWR? And if it was the president who wanted this war,m then why not go to war with Venzuala? We could kill two birds with one stone. It would "confirm": Hugo Chavez's insane idea that we are plotting to overthrow him, and it would have been done far cheaper and quicker than either of these two endeavors. And the idea that we are intentionally killing Iraqi civilians is beyond preposterous. The people who have died during this war, and during the securing of the nation, while they are regrettable are a natural "by-product" of war. And talk about a pot-calling-the-kettle moment. Who precisely cracks down on his people to the point that is comparable to Saddam's crimes?

Everybody in Iraq is unhappy. Iraq has a government now that has risen as a result of the vote of the people and it has a constitution and a parliament. Let them run and administer the country. Our policy is to support the government of Iraq, to create security for the country.

For a country that is unhappy, they sure have a funny way of making that known. Just about everyone in Iraq that are happy to be free are also the ones telling us that we cannot leave yet. They do not want us to leave.

It seems as if a Shiite majority has emerged with the bulk of power in Iraq. Is this good from Iran's point of view?

We are friends with the entire nation of Iraq. Our nation is like an extended family of the Iraqi nation. . . . We are not like American politicians who divide people and fracture.

Who are we dividing in Iraq? The only ones I am aware of that we have a problem with are those that continue to fuel the terrorists and the insurgents. For the most part, those outside forces are backed by Iran and Syria. We have proof of that in the CENTCOM briefings where they have revealed what they have found on the terrorists they kill. Among these items include IEDs; more advanced than the ones used in the beginning of the resistance against coalition forces.

[Prime Minister Nouri al-]Maliki has said that the most important job for him is to control the militias, many of which have close contact with Iran and some of which receive money from Iran. Will you help Prime Minister Maliki control the militias?

This is your mistake again. Mr. Maliki is a friend of ours. Our nations are very close. The country that is hurt most by the insecurity in Iraq is our country.
Everyone in the region says Iran is now the most powerful country -- that the result of the U.S. invasion is that Iran is more powerful than it has ever been.

Do you think there is a problem with Iran being a powerful country? Are you implying that the Americans went there to strengthen Iran?

No, but don't you think that is the end result?

Iran is a powerful country. A powerful Iran will benefit the region because Iran is a country with a deep culture and has always been a peaceful country. If the Americans had not imposed the shah, Iran could have been a far more powerful country.

A "deep culture" does not denote peaceful intentions. Japan had a "deep culture," too, yet it still went to war with China, and directly attacked the United States. Poor analogy, Mr. President.And Iran's power-or potential power, I should say--is a worry of the West. Thomas has brought it up, and so have I. Does anyone really with to see nuclear weapons in the hands of a religious zealot; one that would be at ease using those weapons to blackmail other nations?

Are you going to continue backing terror groups -- Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad?

Are you here on a mission or are you a journalist? A journalist does not judge. You say that Hamas is a terror group. Hamas is working in its own territory, in its own country. Why do you call them terrorists? If someone occupied the United States and the American people rose to defend their home, would you call the American people terrorists?

I would say they were terrorists if they started killing civilians.

The Palestinian people have the right to live. Gaza is being bombarded. Homes are being destroyed. Why? Because some politicians in the United States insist on supporting the Zionists at the cost of destroying the Palestinians and buying the hatred of all the nations in the region.

If ANY bombardments have occurred to the residents in Gaza it is retaliation to the continuing rocket attacks from the Hamas, Islamic Jihad, al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade, PLO, and PLF rocket attacks into Israel proper. And while we do recognize their "right to lvive," we also recognize Israel's right to exist. The two are mutually exclusive provided that the Palestinians actually work towards peace. They have not, and are not at present, doing that.

This will work against the American government because anti-American sentiment and hatred is increasing by the day. One day it could turn into a storm.

You've made statements about the Holocaust, saying maybe it was exaggerated. Is that your opinion?

It's not the numbers that are important here. It's a very fundamental question: When we allow all researchers to do research freely, why don't researchers have the right to research this history as well? Let's remember that 60 million people were killed as a result of World War II. So let's put everything in context and let's research it further. . . . We know this was a historical event that has happened. But why is it that people who question it, even in the smallest sense, are persecuted and attacked?

So, President Ahmadinejad feels persecuted? I wonder if he can "emote" with the Jews that were persecuted in Nazi Germany's rise. Starting with the Nuremberg Laws for Racial Purity, up to the ghettos, and eventually to the trains and camps. This is a pathetic attempt, by him, to make himself a "victim" in all of this. Ms. Weymouth is throwing his own words in his face, and he is trying to weasel his way out of them.

Are you willing to take any steps to suspend uranium enrichment?

We think that the American politicians should change their attitudes. If they think that by threatening Iran they'll have results, they are wrong. I'll ask you: Who cut ties with Iran? It was the U.S. government. Who imposed the war with Saddam on us? So who is the one who has to give the positive signal, us or the U.S. government?

Ties were severed the moment their radicals--Mahmoud Ahmadinejad among them--stormed the United States embassy there, and took prisoners. Did they think we would make nice? For crying out loud, the Ayatollah was wetting his rodes believing that American nuclear weapons would rain down on Iran. Then he discovered Jimmy Carter, and realized how much of a joke American power was, at the time. President Reagan stated he had nothing to do with the release of the hostages, and President Carter did negotiate for their release. But it wasinauguration day before they werte released. Coincidence? I think not.

What do you want the United States to do for you and what are you willing to do in turn for the U.S.?

I sent a very detailed and caring letter [to President Bush]; I truly mean it when I say that I hope Mr. Bush will change his behavior and attitude. It doesn't make us happy that sentiments against him rise on a daily basis around the world.

This can be reversed. It's the attitude and the approach of some American politicians that ruins things. They want to return Iran to what it was before the revolution, under the shah, when it was really a puppet for the United States. That's history. It will never come back. The Iranian nation is a free and independent nation with an elected government, a parliament and a constitution.

How can you come to this country and tell our president to change his behavior?

We're just defending our honor.

I will give Ms. Weymouth credit. The questions were not easy ones for Ahamdinejad. In addition, she did not let up on questioning him if he was serious about wiping Israel from the face of the world. Her questions were probing, and they were fairly tough. I do not liek the idea of letting him off the hook on a couple of issues, but I can understand the time constraints allowed.

This interview was eeriely similar to his statements before the United Nations. It was blame America, blame Israel from beginning to end.



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