Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke to several New York audiences after arriving Sept. 22. He discussed Iran's nuclear program, Syria, the "Innocence of Muslims" film, Israel and other key issues. The following are excerpts of his statements.
Nuclear Program and Negotiations
"Let's even imagine that we have an atomic weapon —a nuclear weapon. What would we do with it? What intelligence person would fight 5,000 American bombs with one bomb?...Also, because of our beliefs, we do not believe in a nuclear weapon. We are against it." —in an interview with Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell for CBS on Sept. 24.
“The nuclear issue is not a problem. But the approach of the United States on Iran is important… We are ready for dialogue, for a fundamental resolution of the problems" but under conditions that are based on "fairness and mutual respect." —in a meeting with American journalists on Sept. 24.
“We have always been ready and we are ready” to make a deal with the P5+1 addressing concerns about the nuclear program. “But experience has shown that important and key decisions are not made in the U.S. leading up to national elections.” —in an interview with David Ignatius for The Washington Post on Sept. 23.
Potential Strike on Nuclear Facilities
“Will the people of the U.S. accept meddling and intervention in the affairs of others? I don’t believe so. I believe the people of the U.S. are peace-loving people.” —in an interview with David Ignatius for The Washington Post on Sept. 23.
“Why should the world be managed in such a way that an individual can allow himself to threaten a rich and deeply rooted historical, ancient country such as Iran? A great country, such as Iran, based on an excuse of his own fabrication. ... Another country can say, 'I am guessing that country B is doing activity X, therefore I will attack that country' ... can this be ... a successful formula for the management of the world?" —in an interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan on Sept. 23.
“Is it the Zionists who must tell the United States government what to do, such as form a red line on Iran’s nuclear issues, and the United States government must make such vital decisions under the influence of the Zionists?” —in a meeting with American journalists on Sept. 24.
“I believe the people of the U.S. are not a war-seeking people.” —in a meeting with American journalists on Sept. 24.
“They [the Israelis]are seeking new adventures in order to escape this dead end. Iran will not be damaged by foreign bombs…Fundamentally we do not take seriously the threats of the Zionists…We have all the defensive means at our disposal and we are ready to defend ourselves.” —in a meeting with American journalists on Sept. 24.
“We do believe that freedom, the right to choose, the right to vote, respect and justice is the fundamental right of all people. All people must obtain these rights. No one has the right to restrict a people and nation, but we believe as a friend of nations, we must help the nations around the world to obtain these rights through peaceful paths, though peaceful actions.” —in an interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan on Sept. 23.
Iran is working for “peace in Syria. We like and love both sides.” —in a meeting with American journalists on Sept. 24.
“The so-called news that you refer to has been denied vehemently, officially” in reference to a recent statement by Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari confirming the presence of Revolutionary Guards in Syria—in a meeting with American journalists on Sept. 24.
“Innocence of Muslims” Film
“We condemn any type of extremism. Of course, what took place was ugly. Offending the Holy Prophet is quite ugly. This has very little or nothing to do with freedom and freedom of speech. This is the weakness of and the abuse of freedom, and in many places it is a crime. It shouldn't take place, and I do hope the day will come in which politicians will not seek to offend those whom others hold holy.” —in an interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan on Sept. 23.
“They [the United States and Western nations] themselves wrongly invoke the U.N. charter and misuse freedom of speech to justify their silence toward offending the sanctities of the human community and to divine prophets.” —in a U.N. conference on international law on Sept. 24.
“A number of uncultured Zionists that threaten the Iranian nation today are never counted and are never paid any attention in the equations of the Iranian nation”—in a meeting with Iranian expatriates on Sept. 23.
“Of course the Zionists are very much, very adventuresome, very much seeking to fabricate things and I think they see themselves at the end of the line and I do firmly believe that they seek to create new opportunities for themselves and their adventurous behaviors.” —in an interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan on Sept. 23.
"So when we say 'to be wiped,' we say for occupation to be wiped off from this world. For war-seeking to (be) wiped off and eradicated, the killing of women and children to be eradicated. And we propose the way. We propose the path. The path is to recognize the right of the Palestinians to self-governance." —in an interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan on Sept. 23.
Economy and Sanctions
“The conditions in Iran are not as bad as portrayed by some.” —in a meeting with American journalists on Sept. 24.