Ahmadinejad Interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’
May 4, 2010
They first spoke about relations between Obama, Secretary Clinton, and Iran and the nuclear issue. This portion was about the American hikers:
STEPHANOPOULOS: Three American hikers have been imprisoned in Iran since last July 31. No representation. No charges brought against them. Their parents made a direct plea to you to bring them here to the United States on your visit. Did you consider it at all?
AHMADINEJAD: Every country has very strict rules to control its borders. If anyone illegally entered U.S. borders, do you
think the U.S. Government will let them go freely? Not bother them? Can anyone enter the borders illegally?
STEPHANOPOULOS: They would be allowed to have representation. They would be charged.
AHMADINEJAD: Allow me. Can anybody enter the borders? No, they can’t. These three individuals entered our borders illegally. They have confessed to that. They crossed our border. Now, they’re being handled by our judicial system and the judicial system will review their crimes according to the law. We have laws. There’s a due process of law that is being observed. The judicial system in Iran is independent of political influence. It’s under the influence of judicial laws. Now, I’d like to ask you. There’s seven Iranians right now in prisons in the United States. These seven Iranians did not cross American borders illegally. They had official visas another country, a third country. Either for pilgrimage or for business or trade or for fun. Now, the U.S. Intelligence Service illegally arrested them in a third country and brought them to the United States. There is no clear crime stated. They don’t have a lawyer. Their families haven’t been able to visit them. Do you think this is fine? Do you think this is any respect for human rights? But there’s three Americans who’ve crossed our border. First of all, why did they do that? What was their reason? They have to give a clear response to the judge.
ST: They [American hikers] say they got lost.
AH: They have to tell the judge exactly why they crossed the border. How do you know they got lost? Were you there? You were not there to see that they were lost.
ST: I told you that’s what they said.
AH: Your government is giving you news —
ST: It’s a very simple question. Will you allow them access to the outside world?
AH: — and you accept it. You and I can’t judge. It’s the judge in Iran that will decide. They have to provide proof and evidence to the judge in Iran that shows that they lost their way or made a mistake.
ST: But there’s no lawyer.
AH: No, allow me, when the time comes they will have a lawyer.
ST: They’ve been in prison since July 31.
AH: I’m not happy when some people are behind bars whether it be in Iran or the United States. I’m unhappy. But I’d like to ask you, do you think the U.S. Government really is concerned about Americans abroad–
AH: –or in Iran? Are they really concerned for these three people? Do you know how many American soldiers have been killed in Iraq? If someone is concerned about his own people, he wouldn’t enter them into wars. Why did the U.S. Government involve American troops in the war? Do you know how many American soldiers have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan? They are Americans too. Why were they killed? For what reason? What was the goal? Which goal has come to be true? They should declare that “our goal has been this and that and so far we have made so much advance. We were supposed to reach this point and we have advanced this much.” What purpose did it serve? Which goal was even material (UNINTEL)? If the U.S. Government can say, is Afghanistan any more secure or less secure? The insecurity has now spread–
ST: That issue is being debate in the United States.
AH: — even on security has infiltrated into Pakistan.
ST: I just have a very simple question. Will you allow these hikers to see their families or not?
AH: It’s in the hands of the judge but I will make recommendations to the judge but it’s up to him to decide.
ST: What is that recommendation?
AH: My recommendation would be that he should cooperate, help them. But the judge is not under my influence.
ST: To see the families? To allow the families–
AH: –rule the judge–
ST: Can– but you– you can recommend that. Will you recommend that the family be allowed to see their–
AH: Generally I will recommend that he render maximum cooperation but the judge is not under my influence. And I’d also like to ask the government of the United States who have been illegally arrested in other countries should have access to lawyers and their families be able to visit them. This is a humane request.