INTERVIEW BY LALLY WEYMOUTH

A CONVERSATION WITH MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD

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Lally Weymouth
Sunday, September 24, 2006

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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.

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?

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?


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