Interview with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by Ann Curry of NBC News
September 18, 2008
ANN CURRY: You are a father what do you say to the families who accuse this government of brutalities, torture, disappearances of their sons and daughters?
AHMADINEJAD: You are expressing certain claims that by and large are being leveled by those who oppose the Islamic Republic. I’m not in a position to answer or to judge whatever you are claiming. Does your heart really and sincerely go out to the people? Is that really the truth?
AC: I know people Mr. President who believe were innocent, who were tortured…
AH: It’s possible
AC: …in prisons.
AH: I don’t have such information, people tortured in prisons, maybe you have more specific information. Our Judiciary in accordance with the law will deal with this matter.
AC: Inside and outside of Iran, people are questioning the legitimacy of your presidency so it is important to ask you Mr President, did you steal this election?
AH: In Iran expressing ones points of view is permissible, it’s free. And if a person has an opinion to express within the confines of the law they are free to express such opinions. I don’t see any problems.
AC: Would you like to answer that question more directly? Given it is a question people around the world have asked, would you like to address the question, did you steal the election sir?
AH: I don’t’ know what you mean by that.
AC: Did you create conditions so that you would win no matter what the vote?
AH: It is very clear, whoever becomes a candidate will start a campaign and will do his outmost to win. I think we should e courageous enough to accept the vote of the people it’s more courageous than participating in the vote itself.
AC: I want to give you an opportunity because i think it’s important to react the video which was seen by millions of people around the world showing the death of Neda. People were very upset watching this, she has come to symbolize the violence in the streets, I want to know what were your emotions when you saw this video?
AH: I was saddened as well all the Iranian people were saddened. We think that this incident is a suspicious death we are treating as a suspicious death and we are very sorry about this. And I am sure that the truth will come to light.
AC: She has come to represent what some on in Iran and some outside Iran say has been a series of examples. Human rights organizations estimate 4,000 people were arrested in these protests, some are still missing, there are reports of torture, there are even reports that some women protesters were raped in prison. Your government has acknowledged that some protesters were killed, you often speak of compassion here inside Iran, the question has to be asked, where was your compassion for your people?
AH: First of all, all of us regret the fact that some people were killed. Two, the police officers and those who accompanied the officers were killed, there numbers are higher compared to others.
AC: Iran has now agreed to negotiating what could lead to the first significant talks between Iran and the US in nearly 30 years, what do you want from the US?
AH: Today, a new arrangement should be put in place based on new principles so that the world is directed towards peace and tranquility. We have always believed in talking in negotiating, that is our logic, nothing has changed.
AC: Are there conditions under which Iran would weaponize?
AH: Well, nuclear arms, we believe they belong to the past and the past generation.