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“The Language of Force”


For the record: I happen to agree with the President of Iran that a country “which has culture, logic and civilization does not need nuclear weapons,” here quoting the gentleman’s news conference in Tehran this past Saturday, the 14th. (More or less agree with him, that is. And not letting ourselves get hung up on the definition of ‘civilization’, ‘logic’, and ‘culture’. All the while deferring to Gandhi’s celebrated quip with respect to the conventional usage of terms such as these. Of course.)

Elected President last June, the first and enduring—indeed, the adamantine, the incorrigible—reaction against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad within the English-language news media remains that of the “hard-line mayor of Tehran who has invoked Iran’s 1979 revolution and expressed doubts about rapprochement with the United States” (Washington Post), a man whose victory “means that the hardliners now have power in every branch of Iran’s government” (The Guardian).

That these initial reactions turned dramatically more negative over the intervening six-and-a-half months goes without saying. Under Ahmadinejad, Iran has resumed the status that it once held some 26 or 27 years ago—the single-most demonized government within the English-language media.

With this fact in mind—namely, with the construction of a new demon who is alleged to combine the worst of Ayatollah Khomeini and the worst of Saddam Hussein all in one—I thought it not only wise, but also necessary, to post here, and as soon as humanly possible, something in the Iranian President’s own voice that might serve as a counter-record to the menacing accusations that currently surround the man. And that serve one purpose, ultimately: To provide the world’s Super Menace with a canvas upon which to splatter whatever cynical portrait of the Enemy will stick.

After all, it was only a couple of weekends ago that Doug Marlette of the Tallahassee Democrat depicted Ahmadinejad with the fangs of a nuclear vampire—

—and in doing so, captured official Washington’s and London’s demonization of this particular ENEMY, and the way they seek to instill FEAR of the demon according to their dictates.

Psychological warfare is rampant once again in official circles, in other words.

Psychological warfare against the Iranian political and religious leadership. Against the Iranian people. Against the greater Middle East.

Psychological warfare against the “international community” (i.e., the regimes in the U.K., France, and Germany; the larger European Union; the International Atomic Energy Agency and the UN Security Council).

Above all, psychological warfare against the captive American mind back in the States.

It is for the sake of providing one such counter-record that I am reproducing here a series of excerpts from the BBC Worldwide Monitoring service’s translation of the Islamic Republic of Iran News Network’s transcript of the Iranian President’s January 14, 2006 news conference in Tehran.

Note that space limitations have compelled me to take a few liberties in the IRINN – BBC version of this news conference, cutting their introductory paragraphs, cutting their topical subheadings, cutting several of the less relevant Q&As, while inserting numbers for each of the different journalists whose questions I’ve retained. (By my count, the news conference included a total of 22 different questioners; I have retained 13 of them.)

I have made these changes to facilitate referencing the material to be found therein (e.g., Question Two, Question Ten, and so on). Otherwise, the text of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s prepared statement at the outset, as well as the questions and answers themselves, derive from the IRINN – BBC version.

Last, note that I have retained the BBC’s spelling throughout. Including the BBC’s spelling for the Iranian President’s name.

As Ahmadinejad explained in his lengthy response to the second questioner:

They tell us: “you have to build confidence”. For 2.5 years the government of the Islamic Republic, out of compassion and kindness, tried to build confidence. Today I declare that it is time for the western countries to build confidence. We have no confidence in their honesty. It is absolutely clear for us that they want Iranian people to enjoy scientific growth and development. They openly say they are opposed to research. On what right are you making such statements? Is this not a fundamentalist medieval perspective? We believe that, unfortunately, despite their technological and scientific development in certain parts of the world, several western countries still have an ideological and intellectual perspective which belong to the medieval age.

They tell us that we don’t have the right to enjoy scientific development, that we should not be involved in research. You may like to accuse other countries, whenever you want, of doing this or that. Well, this is not going to solve any problems for you. Such language is no longer applicable. I take the opportunity here to advise these countries not to isolate themselves even more among other peoples. Today, the language of hegemony, the language of force, the language of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons are no longer applicable. These things are no longer effective in international calculations.

Of course, those states which seek to rule the world by force may have other ideas.

But there is no reason why any reasonable, civilized human being should follow their lead.

National Nuclear Security Administration, U.S. Department of Energy
U.S. Nuclear Posture Review (Excerpts), December 31, 2001 (as posted to GlobalSecurity.org, January 8, 2002)
Faking Nuclear Restraint: The Bush Administration’s Secret Plan For Strengthening U.S. Nuclear Forces,” Natural Resources Defense Council, February, 2002
U.S. nuclear forces, 2005,” Robert S. Norris and Hans M. Kristensen, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, January/February 2005
Upgrades planned for U.S. nuclear stockpile,” James Sterngold, San Francisco Chronicle, January 15, 2006

In Focus: IAEA and Iran (Homepage)

Iran’s Dire Threat (It might be able to defend itself),” Edward S. Herman, Z Magazine, October, 2004
The Coming Wars,” Seymour M. Hersh, New Yorker, January 24/31, 2005
The Iran ‘Crisis’,” Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, ColdType, November, 2005

Iran I,” ZNet, February 25, 2005
Iran II,” ZNet, February 25, 2005
Iran III,” ZNet, February 27, 2005
Iran IV,” ZNet, March 2, 2005
Iran V,” ZNet, March 6, 2005
The Language of Force,” ZNet, January 16, 2006

Postscript (January 25): Strongly urge everyone to take a look at the open letter, A Peaceful Solution to the Iran Crisis, A Nuclear-Free Middle East, and No First-Use of Nuclear Weapons, as posted to the Parliamentary Network for Nuclear Disarmament website. Addressing itself to the political leadership of the United States, Israel, Iran, and beyond, it urges a “solution to the crisis in relations” between these states—but a crisis that has been forced into existence by the U.S. and Israel—based on five principles. Namely:

1) No use of any military option whatsoever by any party for any reason.

2) A clear commitment by all nuclear-armed parties not to use nuclear weapons in this situation, and a broader commitment to the doctrine of no first use of nuclear weapons.

3) The implementation of the 1995 Non-Proliferation Treaty Resolution on a Nuclear Weapon Free Zone in the Middle East, implementation of the annual consensus-adopted General Assembly resolutions on ‘Establishment of a Nuclear-Weapons-Free Zone in the region of the Middle East’, and particularly the full implementation of this years resolution on nuclear proliferation in the middle -east.

4) A clear commitment by all parties to the global elimination of nuclear weapons, including through reaffirming the Final Declaration of the 2000 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, and relevant General Assembly resolutions.

5) A diplomatic path to the removal of tensions between the US, Israel, and Iran, involving compromise on both sides, recognition of the legitimate security concerns of all parties including both Israel and Iran, and refraining from inflammatory statements or the exploration of military options by any party.

Of course No. 1 and No. 2 are no-brainers. Only the world’s predatory powers would conduct themselves otherwise.

However, with respect to this region of the world, the Americans already have violated No. 1—or else they wouldn’t be on the ground in Iraq. Furthermore, the Americans very well may be violating No. 1 with respect to territorial Iran even as we speak. (“The Coming Wars,” Seymour M. Hersh, New Yorker, January 24/31, 2005.)

As for No. 3 and No. 4, only those states that already have chosen to use nuclear energy for belligerent purposes, such as the nuclear-weapons-of-mass-destruction-laden Americans and the Israelis (and at least seven others: Russia, Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan, and North Korea (maybe)), could be in violation of them. That these states are not at present engaged in the disarmament of their nuclear weapons capabilities only worsens international peace and security.

Last, No. 5 is another no-brainer.

So I for one would happily add my signature to this peitition.

[PRESIDENT AHMADINEZHAD'S PREPARED STATEMENT]

This year the Iranian people came out onto the scene, and in a totally free and serious election, made a choice and determined the fate of the executive branch for the next four years. In these elections, which were by its standards unprecedented in the world, the masses of the people came out to the scene, and without out party organization or financial and political backing of groups or organizations, demonstrated their will. In other words, we may be able to say, that in these elections a pure form of democracy was manifested, so much so that people involved themselves, supported each other, in a popular form of organization, in a popular form of investment, and made a great choice, and decided to send a representative to the executive branch.

In these elections, the direction of the [future] government became fully clear. The representative of the people had fully and transparently made his views known on domestic and foreign affairs, and people who had similar views came out on to the scene and made their decision.

Our domestic policy was geared towards establishing a developed, strong and Islamic society. This was the slogan of the Islamic revolution. Its distinguished features have been completely reflected in our vision. We are a nation whose achievements are of epic proportion. It is an old civilization which has achieved great things in its history. Today, our nation has tasted independence, freedom and the Islamic republic system. It is determined to establish a model society. The creation of a model society cannot be achieved without establishment of justice, strengthening of our sense of fair play, greater public service and developing the country’s moral and material states. That is why we drafted our four slogans of establishment of justice, sense of fair play, public service and improving the country’s moral and material welfare. The government has taken great steps in this direction so far. This fact has been reflected in the appointment of our colleagues. In doing so, we took special care to ignore special factional and party consideration. We have appointed those individuals who are dedicated to their work and are ready to serve the country. Government’s decisions have been all in this direction. Our visits to provinces are key factor in our efforts to strengthen ties between the cabinet and the nation. It will harmonize the relations between the two. It will steer the decision-making process to a proper and correct direction. It will facilitate the job of supervising and monitoring. It encourages public scrutiny and helps to energize administrative organizations. It informs the government of the outcome of its decisions. Government belongs to all people. It has to address the problems of every parts of the country. All parts of the country should move forward simultaneously. Every Iranian is entitled to equal right, especially in developing individual talent and development.

Therefore, the government has started this great task and it has visited five provinces so far. God willing, these visits will continue until the end of the term of the government. We plan to officially visit every province three times during the term of this government. In the intervals between the visits to the provinces, the ministers will carry on with their activities in the provinces. That is to say the ministers visit the provinces collectively and on their own.

Thank God, this policy has also been reflected in the 1385 [year starting 21 March 2006] budget. Allow me to explain to you some of the items on the 1385 budget. If we divide the total expenditures of the government into current and capital expenditures, the total current budget of the government for the next year will increase by 10.3 per cent. But the capital expenditure of the government, which is the main instrument of the government to administer justice, will increase by 74.2 per cent.

As compared to the Majlis’s ratified figures, the capital expenditure will increase by 63.4 per cent. This shows that the government has decreased its unnecessary expenditures on formalities or duplicities, and it is concentrating the budget and its facilities on the development of the country. Since we want to promote justice, we said that we should concentrate on provinces. We said that decentralization is the basis of administrating justice. Therefore, we increased the budget allocated to provinces by 180 per cent. This share has also increased as compared to the total budget.

That is to say, the budget allocated for capital expenditures in the provinces this year was 19.8 per cent of the total capital expenditure of the country, while it has increased to 34 per cent next year.

This means decentralization. It means that things have been directed towards the provinces. The total development funds for the current [Iranian] year – in terms of the figure in the budget, not what is actually spent, which is less than the budget – 20.6 per cent relates to development activities. In 1385 [starting in March 2006], this figure has increased to 31.3 per cent, which is a very big figure.

In the foreign policy arena, too, the government announced that we seek peace and calm for all in the light of justice and spirituality. We said that we seek an active foreign policy. And this is what the government is pursuing and planning for. We think that if the world is to reach lasting peace and calm, this peace and calm is not possible other than in the light of justice and spirituality. Imposed peace, peace under swords, under nuclear, chemical and biological arsenals, will not be lasting. A peace based on plundering nations’ wealth and imposing discriminatory decisions will not be lasting.

As a rule, progress is also meaningless without justice. People who have tried over the past 200 years to bring welfare and progress to their peoples without paying attention to spirituality and the worship of God – we can see that this aim of theirs has also not been fulfilled. Human excellence, the excellence of human society comes about in the light of justice and spirituality. Measures that are taken outside religious morality, politics minus morality, economics minus morality, culture minus morality only turns the world into a hell for nations and humanity. The fact that, as you can see, there is tension somewhere in the world every day, there is war, there is oppression and injustice is because of this approach.

The humanity is facing a number of governments that aim to impose false peace without justice. We believe that such peace will not materialize, because the necessary foundations, grounds and principles for it are not evident. Even if such an issue [peace] do prevail in a corner of the globe, it will not sustain for long.

Nowadays, the humanity is grappling with a number of rulers, who by imposing wars on other nations, would like to ensure security for their own people. Conditions in the world have today connected nations to each other in a way whereas one [incident] affects all the others. Economic, cultural and political development cannot be confined to isolated islands anymore. Therefore, those who think that by imposing wars, insecurity and violence on a number of nations, they would bring themselves tranquillity, are mistaking 100 per cent. Today, if the fire of tension, discrimination and oppression is started in any corner of the world, the flames would engulf the main perpetrators also. It is a divine tradition.

We said that we are after peace, tranquillity and dignity for all and would like to co-exist in the world with justice and peace for all. We are after expanding our relations. The main drive behind our foreign policy is aimed at expanding relations as well as ensuring peace and tranquillity for all nations. God willing, we have been moving in this direction so far. Today, the Islamic Republic’ foreign policy is very active, coordinated and lively. It is pursued and based on a clear rationale – the rationale of peace for all on the basis of justice and spirituality.

I hope that the government, with the nation’s cooperation, alongside the nation and behind the nation, is able – over the course of the term in which it is serving – to pursue in earnest the ideals and aims for which the nation voted in the elections, and to fulfil them, as much as it can, both within the country and abroad. God willing.

I sincerely thank you all for your patience and for listening to what I said. I am at your service for answering your questions.

[QUESTIONS FOR PRESIDENT AHMADINEZHAD]

[QUESTION TWO]

[Reporter] Greetings Mr President. We would like to express our gratitude to you and your colleagues in the government. A question which is still on people’s mind on the nuclear issue is that we are witnessing at the moment that some European countries and particularly America are using a language of threat and sanctions regarding Iran’s nuclear programme. Please first tell us about the latest development in our nuclear case and also tell us what Iran’s response to Europe’s and America’s unconventional and non-diplomatic language is? My other question is regarding the proposal you made in the recent weeks. You made a proposal and asked the Iranian and European scholars to hold a dialogue with regards to the human rights issue, what was Europe’s reaction to this proposal? I have another brief question about your best and worst memory since you became president in the past four months and nine days? Thank you.

[Ahmadinezhad says jokingly] Thanks very much. How many questions did you ask? I think three and a half, ha? We consider your “brief” question as half a question. [He laughs]

[Ahmadinezhad continues] With regard to the issue of human rights our stance is very clear. We said that we will pursue our foreign policy based on justice. We neither oppress anyone nor are we prepared to submit to anyone’s oppression. We want justice, peace and security for all nations. We are defenders of human dignity all across the world. We said [to Westerners] if you claim to be guardians of human rights, we would like to have scientific debate with you. It is not right to draw a framework based on one’s personal perspective and personal interest and try to impose it on humanity. It is like making a ruler to measure all nations and stretch them long if they are shorter that our own standards and cut them short if they are longer. This is not an acceptable logic. We said we were prepared to attend scientific meetings so that our scholars could sit and discuss the issues and principles of human rights. Also, we are prepared to send a committee and invite you to send a committee to prepare a report on the human right situation in our countries [West and East] and to submit it to the world public to be considered from the perspective of the global justice. This is a very fair proposal. If some people do not want to use the human rights issue as a leverage of pressure in political developments, it is a very fair proposal.

We will be sending groups to provide reports on issues, such as their [West's] prisons, discriminations against religious minorities, assassinations, secret prisons, torture, other types of discriminations, the type of elections, their economic conditions, their support for international terrorism, their judicial system, their parliament and their administrations. These reports will be published. We will report on the relations between their nations and the governments. Likewise, they can do the same [about Iran]. We think that such a monitoring system will result in assessing the human rights records of all governments, and thus the issue will avoid becoming a tool of pressure. Unfortunately, we have not received any response yet. It is not important. I have prepared some 20 proposals and will present them in turn. So far, I have presented only two proposals. When these fair proposals were presented, we saw that a number of these so-called defendants of human rights. Instead of responding positively or otherwise; or criticizing it, giving their opinions or presenting a new proposal; as usual, they resorted to hew and cry and accusations and other issues that I may discuss later.

As I said at the beginning, unfortunately today humanity is plagued with some leaders who only see their immediate surroundings. Those who believe they have greater rights than other nations, simply because they possess a large nuclear, chemical and biological arsenal. They are convinced that they can impose their views on others. Iran’s nuclear case falls in that category. All member countries have the right to use peaceful nuclear technology based on the IAEA regulations and Non-Proliferation Treaty [NPT]. No amount of efforts can limit these rights or prevent the member countries from realizing them. The inspections should not deprive nations from realizing their rights. Many Western countries have a large arsenal of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. They built dozens of new nuclear power plants every year. They now challenge Iran. The unprecedented inspections and monitoring of the Iranian activities have failed to produce even an iota of evidence showing any diversion in of our country’s nuclear research. But, they want to flex their muscle and prevent our nation from realizing its inalienable right. They believe that Iranian nation should not possess this. In the beginning, every time we told them that they aimed to stop our progress, they would turn around and say that they were worried about the production of nuclear weapons. But as you witnessed recently, they blatantly admitted that they were against research and academic work. We have always known this. They want to monopolize expensive nuclear energy. They are pursuing two objectives. In the first place, they sell this energy at high cost and in a piecemeal fashion to other nations. And in the second place, they use this as a tool to impose their policies on others. We have said it many times that our nation does not need nuclear weapons.

A nation which has culture, logic and civilization does not need nuclear weapons. Those countries which need to solve all problems by force seek nuclear weapons. Our nation does not need such weapons. Our nation has got a very clear logic in all international fields. This logic enshrines in a calm and peaceful environment. Iranian people have a very strong and clear logic which complies with human nature.

We believe that some of the western countries have opened Iran’s nuclear dossier in line with their past hostilities against Iran. Those countries, who are now accusing Iran, used to support the corrupt, despotic, unpopular and western regime of this country 30- years ago. They used to provide it with weapons. They even provided it with [nuclear] fuel cycle, or at least signed contracts in this respect. They also provided it with [nuclear] power plant and aircrafts.

Immediately after the Iranian nation in a popular movement toppled that dependent regime on the West, which had oppressed people for tens of years, and began to experience freedom, independence and the Islamic republic and democracy, some [western] countries became hostile to our people. Their hostility is still continuing. They sanctioned Iran. They imposed a war on Iran and equipped Saddam [Husayn] against our country.

They applauded Saddam for his crimes, city wars, and using chemical weapons. They [some western countries] are continuing their same policy. Our nation does not need this. In the eight year sacred defence [reference to 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war] when Iraq used chemical weapons against Iran, the Iranian nation never violated its ethical and religious principles. Iran abided by the principle of governance of spirituality and ethical principles in all its international relations. We are asked why we have started [nuclear] research. We answer that there is no limitation to research.

There are no limits imposed on research in NPT or in the Additional Protocol. Nor have we made such a commitment. Research is necessary for the life and dynamism of a nation. Is it possible to prevent the advance of ideas and the sciences? Is it possible to prevent the scientific progress of a nation? They say: “no – you have suspended this voluntarily”. We say: “fine, it was voluntarily and we no longer want to suspend it.” They say: “no, the condition for our negotiations with you is to suspended this forever.” We say: “What is this? Do you think you are fooling a child? Why are you twisting it?” Are there any limits imposed on nuclear research or not? If there are no limits, well there are no limits. And if there are limits to which law are you referring to?

They tell us: “you have to build confidence”. For 2.5 years the government of the Islamic Republic, out of compassion and kindness, tried to build confidence. Today I declare that it is time for the western countries to build confidence. We have no confidence in their honesty. It is absolutely clear for us that they want Iranian people to enjoy scientific growth and development. They openly say they are opposed to research. On what right are you making such statements? Is this not a fundamentalist medieval perspective? We believe that, unfortunately, despite their technological and scientific development in certain parts of the world, several western countries still have an ideological and intellectual perspective which belong to the medieval age.

They tell us that we don’t have the right to enjoy scientific development, that we should not be involved in research. You may like to accuse other countries, whenever you want, of doing this or that. Well, this is not going to solve any problems for you. Such language is no longer applicable. I take the opportunity here to advise these countries not to isolate themselves even more among other peoples. Today, the language of hegemony, the language of force, the language of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons are no longer applicable. These things are no longer effective in international calculations.

Nations have awakened today, and they will determine their future. Therefore, it is prudent for them [Westerners] to adhere to rules and regulations. They invite us to sit and negotiate, but conjure up an excuse to stop the talks. So we say ok. We want to talk to everyone. We are not afraid of dialogues. We follow a logical and lawful path. We have and continue to adhere to international laws. Over 1400 days of inspection have been conducted in our facilities. This is unprecedented. I announce today that it is them who should work towards building trust. We put forward a proposal calling for the UN to set up a disarmament committee. Some countries are holding a stick over our head during the negotiations, threatening us with referral of our case to the UN Security Council unless we bend to their will. Why do they tarnish the integrity of international institutions? Why do they force the IAEA to get involve with politics? Why do they use the UN Security Council for their own purposes? The UN Security Council has been set up for the world security. Is the UN Security Council a mere tool in their hands to use at their will – threatening to send our case to the UN if we refuse to comply with their demands? Our understanding is that the UN Security Council belongs to all nations and is not a tool for a few countries. Why do they use it for their own purpose? Doesn’t this threaten global security? Doesn’t this unilateral policy threaten global security? Although as a public servant, I already knew this fact, but I’ve come to gain a deeper understanding of the roots of insecurity, tension, terrorism and wars. A few countries, which consider themselves more deserving than others, have created terrorist groups, and announced their intention to kill people in other countries. With a mentality dating back to the dark-ages, they want to control the 21st century. It is obvious that such a move will not bring peace and tranquillity to nations.

[QUESTION THREE]

[Al-Arabiya correspondent] Your Excellency! I am Muhammad Nur the head of the Al-Arabiya network in Tehran. Thank you for giving reporters this opportunity. Your Excellency! My question is about the recent remarks of the American president, Mr George Bush, who said the solution to Iran’s nuclear issue should be achieved through peaceful talks. In your view, what will be the future situation of uranium enrichment, which is suspended in Iran now, if Iran’s case is reported or referred to the Security Council?

[Ahmadinezhad] Thank you very much. Our path is very clear. We shall continue with our activities within the regulations of the IAEA and the NPT. We are conducting research. I repeat, in terms of our principles, we are opposed to the method utilized by the gentlemen and we are opposed to the accumulation of nuclear weapons. Today, nuclear energy is useful for people in dozens of ways. We seek a peaceful use. The path of our nation is clear. I think those people who claim peace and tranquillity, should first disarm themselves in order to gain our trust, secondly, respect international laws so we can have the confidence that they don’t want to imposed anything on us outside the rule of law.

[QUESTION FOUR]

[Amirshahi] Good day, Mr Ahmadinezhad. I’m Amirshahi from Sharq newspaper. I wanted to say that, in the remarks that you made recently about Israel, you said that the remarks were uttered on the basis of an aim and a programme. Please tell us what your doctrine is in this respect and has it been coordinated with the system’s senior officials or not? And my next question concerns the debate that has been raised recently: Some ulema, such as Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi, are of the view that the people’s votes bring acceptance [as opposed to legitimacy, which is said to come from God] for the system; on the other side, some believe that the people’s votes brings legitimacy. What’s your view as president? Thank you.

[Ahmadinezhad] Thank you very much. It was supposed to be one question. Let me answer your second question first. Theoretical debates are normal in our country. We must not impede ideas. Let theoretical debates continue in academic circles. Don’t bring this sort of thing into political debates, especially of the party, partisan variety. This will quash ideas. Allow learned people to discuss things in friendly environments, to say theoretical things, discuss things. This is a pillar of the Iranian nation’s progress. The Iranian nation has always welcomed academic debates, dialogue and opinions. Therefore, I call on all political groups, all opinion holders not to keep trying to polarize the country’s atmosphere over theoretical debates. What kind of conduct is this? Let discussions take place in universities, in seminaries, in academic centres. Let there be free dialogue, without fear. This leads to the country’s growth.

As to the stances that I adopted, the stances are very clear. New stances were not announced. Two questions were asked. Two very clear questions. Unfortunately, instead of answering the questions, the same people whom I mentioned started making a hue and cry. The first question was this: Where did the people who are ruling today in occupied Palestine come from? Where did their fathers come from? These people who give themselves the right to kill, to assassinate, with helicopters, with planes, with tanks. To destroy houses over people’s heads. To set farms ablaze. To drive people out of their homeland. To form a government. To exercise power. Where did they come from? Why do these people who have no root in the land of Palestine and who are nearly all imposed immigrants have the right to self-determination and sovereignty? while the Palestinian nation which has been living there for thousands of years, generation after generation doesn’t have the right to sovereignty.

This is our clear proposal: Allow the indigenous people of Palestine, Muslim, Christian and Jewish, to decide their own future. This is our question: You claim to advocate human rights, democracy and the right of nations to determine their own future, so why are you opposed to this very clear request? If you really want to resolve the problem why are you twisting it so much? Why are you moving it from bad to worse? Allow the indigenous people of Palestine to make the decision.

The second question is this: With the excuse of the Holocaust in Europe you are supporting terrorism, the killings and the occupiers, do you accept that there was a Holocaust or not? The question is very clear. You cannot say you don’t know or this or that. I said something and they said “so and so is a warmonger, so and so is opposed to peace, so and so is a terrorist”. They accused us of what they are themselves. No! I am a teacher and I have asked a very clear question and I am not going to drop my question because of this commotion. You have to answer the question. Did you start anti-Semitism or didn’t you? If you did – and you are responsible for the system and government – you have to pay the compensation. Why should other people pay the price? The statement is very clear. It is based on clear laws. If you have done something wrong why should others pay the price? And if there was no such thing [i.e. Holocaust] what is all this commotion about? You should allow these emigrants to go back to their homelands. This would be the end of the story. It is not right for you to make something up and then say “no one has the right to speak about this, everyone should repeat what we say”. These people think they are living in the medieval age when they could call a scientist and tell him “abandon you ideas for the earth is not moving.”. The scientist would say “I swear by the prophets I have the scientific argument that the earth is moving.” They say: “No! Here is the guillotine . Either abandon your views or go under the guillotine.” This is the same form of thinking. The difference is that they have nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. The situation is therefore more dangerous. In those days they only had the sword and the guillotine, today they have nuclear weapons. You know how they threaten nations with the use of nuclear weapons. The logic of the questions is very clear. There are two questions and I openly call on them now to answer these two questions.

Do they give the indigenous people of Palestine the right to determine their own future or don’t they? Are they responsible for the anti-Semitism and the killings [of WWII] or aren’t they? Are these things true or aren’t they? I am not expressing an opinion here. They should say themselves, and we shall accept their answer. If they say these things are true – very well. Or they could say these things are not true. I am only a administrative manager and I don’t want to judge history. I will leave this to European academics. I ask them to allow their academics to speak. To put academics in prison, to put them on trail or to shut them up is not going to work. If a country shuts up its academics, even if that country enjoys some form of progress, it will definitely be destroyed. Nothing will be left for such a country. The elements that move countries forward are the sciences, knowledge and academics.

For academics it is vital that you should give them the opportunity to speak and discuss things. It is not right to say: “No! We say this and everyone should say this.” You are not academics, you are politicians. For the sake of your interest you make up dozens of lies, accuse other people and spread rumours. It is not right for academics to follow politicians. You should follow academics. The successful nation follows its academics. You put the academics in prison and then speak about human rights. What human rights? You should first respect these things in your own country before we trust you.

[QUESTION SIX]

[AFP correspondent, speaking in English] Mr president, could you confirm that Iran is intending to enrich uranium on a small scale as stated by Mr Al-Baradi’i for research purposes, and if it does what practical steps will Iran take if it is taken before the Security Council by the Executive Council of the IAEA?

[Ahmadinezhad] I have already answered [this question]. According to the international law, Iran has a right to peaceful use of nuclear energy. We are moving in the framework of the agency [IAEA]‘s regulations. We have abided by international rules more than any other nation and there has been no report on Iran’s violation in this respect.

We are not interested in creating tension at the international level. We do not want to have illogical and unnecessary discussions poisoning the international atmosphere. We have pursued a very clear logic so far. We have a right and we work in the framework of the agency’s regulations. Today, we are carrying out research. I should also say that our people will not accept others to impose on us whatever they want. Our nation has a definite right to peaceful nuclear technology and will achieve it.

We are the only nation that has invited all others to come and join us. If you say that you do not trust us, you can come and become our partner. We are ready to become your partner in your [nuclear] technology. We can both supervise each other’s activities. We can watch you not to deviate towards nuclear weapons and you can also become our partners and watch our activities directly.

How do you justify this logic to have an arsenal full [of nuclear weapons], but when you get to such nations as ours, you do not even allow research. This logic cannot rule the world today. Even if the Security Council gets involved in this subject, it will not help solve the equation. We do not want to move in this direction. But those who insist to undermine our rights should know that this will not happen.

[QUESTION EIGHT]

[Male reporter] About foreign loans – oil revenue.

[Ahmadinezhad] This needs a bit of explanation. We must configure our oil revenue within our international accounts, and we are doing this. Our accounts belong to Iran. It belongs to the Central Bank. The Central Bank belongs to all people. The Central Bank deposits the money in its foreign accounts. I accept your point about interest and finance. We are currently looking at ways to use our foreign currency reserve, so we don’t pay as much interest.

In relation to what you said in the beginning, if you remember a psychological warfare was launched against me before the elections – especially the runoffs. They made wild accusations which were ludicrous. In some people’s view, I had stepped into an exclusive power-circle. That psychological warfare continues. It continues. They manufacture tapes, videos and CDs and publish articles. They believe in their own lies. I speak bluntly. I am a teacher. Teachers are honest. I am famous for being blunt. I share all my beliefs and thoughts with people. As I’ve said before, government should not get involved with peripheral issues. Such distractions would prevent the government to focus on real issues. We end up using public funds to hire a dozen people to monitor websites and respond. This can go back and forth. We just don’t accept such things. Government is duty bound to do certain work. And it must execute its programmes in a timely fashion. Otherwise, I have to allocate one hour a day just to read such items. Why should I do it? People should know that I don’t do it. I am not unaware of the atmosphere. I follow all important issues that pertain to people’s life and their welfare.

But we do not follow them up when they want to insult us, accuse us or like that. Today, you can see that the president’s public relations office has not even issued one statement in this respect. Dr Elham was just asked once and he said that he denies it. These are deviating arguments.

But concerning the Lord of Time [Shi'i's messiah], I should say that some are hostile to a reality and they implement their hostility somewhere else. Belief in a saviour is universal. It is the pivot of our beliefs as Muslims and Iranians. We believe that an offspring of the prophet, may peace be upon him, will be the ultimate saviour.

His name and attributes are clear. He will come and will administer ultimate justice. We are proud to declare this. This is not called superstition or dogmatism. It is rather the ultimate progress. We want to have a world filled with peace, tranquillity, welfare, knowledge, humanity and justice. Belief in the Lord of Time means the belief in the hereafter. It means to move towards the other world.

Now, some make stories and attribute them to me. We are very frank in our statements. The government wants to administer justice and wants to cut short the hands of the corrupt from the treasury. It wants to restore the rights of people and increase efficiency. It wants to promote economic development in the country.

We will decisively defend our culture, genuineness, civilization and self-belief. Our decisions are completely scientific. The scientific level of this government is much higher than previous governments. It is even higher than many other countries. Many of my colleagues have achieved high level of expertise in their respective fields of study. They are members of faculties and have their say at academic gatherings. So there is a religious and scientific government that seeks justice.

[QUESTION TEN]

[Japanese NHK TV, speaking in English] Mr president, you repeated full commitment to the regulations of NPT. Is there any possibility for the Islamic Republic of Iran to withdraw from NPT itself in the future if the case is taken to the Security Council?

[Ahmadinezhad] We have time and again said that claims made by some western countries are political and do not have any legal basis. I once again recommend to them not to isolate themselves so much among nations. It is not right for them to make a new claim everyday, and to bully or intimidate other nations. This will further isolate them. I have no doubt today that the heads of these few countries are the most despised people among nations.

If they claim otherwise, we have a way to test it. I am ready to accompany each of them among various nations without guards and media propaganda. I am ready to accompany them even among their own nations. They are not even able to appear among their own people. They are isolated among nations.

Take a look at their [US] elections. A small number of people vote, and with the power of judges someone is finally elected. They [some western leaders] are isolated. I advise them to put this literature aside. The use of this literature belonged to centuries ago. It is not middle ages anymore. It is not 100 year ago. It is not even 10 years ago. Today is today.

If you want to play a substantial role in the international equations, you should speak with the nations based on today’s criteria.

My second advice to them is that they should not undermine international organizations so much. It is not right to exert so much pressure on the agency [IAEA]. The agency is a legal entity. Its cameras are installed. No country’s nuclear activities are as transparent as Iran.

Everything is in front of the IAEA inspectors and cameras. No [other] country is like this. If they say it is, let them report it. In these Western countries, do they allow us to go and see their nuclear installations? We want to go and see them. I declare now that we want to go and inspect them, and we call on the IAEA to do this.

They exert so much pressure that they force the IAEA to take political stance. Well, what do you think happens then? The IAEA loses its credibility. Let them not invoke the name of the Security Council so much. Let them not inculcate in the mind of nations that the Security Council is a tool in the hands of a few powers. If this is the case, it will have no credibility left. The Security Council won’t have any influence left. Then, how will you be able to establish security in the world?

At the drop of a hat, [they say]: No research, mister, or I’ll take you to the Security Council. What kind of literature is this? What kind of literature is this to use when speaking to the great Iranian nation?

Let me give a third piece of advice. We favour dialogue and we’ve always done so, with everyone. But I advise them: Know the Iranian nation! Know the revolution of the Iranian nation! Know the government of the Iranian nation! Otherwise, you may do something that you’ll regret later and your regret will come at a time when it will be of no use to you.

What kind of way is this to behave? Each one of you who comes and stands behind the podium is insulting, is rude. What kind of behaviour is? Is this civilized behaviour? [Repeats himself] Is this civilized behaviour? That – when it comes to governments that don’t accept your policies – you should keep getting together and saying things and approving your own remarks and then breaking up. Then, getting together two by two, three by three, with one of you saying something and the other approving it, the other one echoing it, the other one resonating it. Then, imagining that a right has been created in the world. Amend this behaviour, towards all nations, especially the Iranian nation! The Iranian nation is a learned nation. It is a civilized nation. It is a history-making nation. It is a nation that – both in the region and the world – has a very active logic and foreign policy today.

You know and we know: You need us far more than we need you. You all need the Iranian nation today. Why do you strike a powerful pose? You don’t have any power, so what does this mean? On the one hand, you go and give interviews, you threaten [us]; on the other hand, your inspectors keep coming and talking to us, saying: Retreat by an inch, do this, do that! You like to hear us say the words that you like. You want the Iranian nation to do as you please. What kind of inappropriate expectation is this? The Iranian nation is an independent nation. Of course, it will decide and act within the framework of stipulated, lawful international regulations, and it will follow its course.

[Presenter announces a break in the live relay to allow the broadcasting of the news bulletin]

[Ahmadinezhad - second session of press conference in progress] After all, in our relations with other countries, we have our national interest in mind of course in accordance with the international regulations. I have already answered the second part of your question. We have the essential tools to defend our nation’s right and we think that those who are using this aggressive and illegal language against our nation, need to have relations with the Iranian nation ten times more than the Iranians need them.

[QUESTION ELEVEN]

[Moderator] Qods newspaper.

[Ahmadinezhad - joking] Alphabetical order starts from the middle! Please ask your questions quickly and make them short to accelerate the procedure.

[Reporter] Greetings Mr president. I am Aleqbandan from Jam e-Jam Newspaper and have a very short question for you. The Europeans and the Western countries …

[Ahmadinezhad interrupts addressing other reporters] No problem, come and ask your question.

[Jam e-Jam reporter continues] What should the Western countries do to build trust?

[Ahmadinezhad] They should give necessary guarantees to assure us that they will recognize the right of our nation, and that they will not cause any nuisance or create unnecessary problems. They should also make their nuclear activities transparent by allowing IAEA to inspect their activities and to impose limitations on their activities. These are parts of our expectations from them. They should stop their political games. These are what we expect them to do to reassure us that they abide by law and that they are telling the truth when they say they recognize the right of the Iranian nation.

[QUESTION TWELVE]

[Qods daily reporter] My name is Khalilkhani.

[Ahmadinezhad] You appear to be a brawny man, please speak a bit louder.

[Qods daily reporter] Fine. My question is as follows: The Russian foreign minister said that there is no need for Iran’s dossier to be referred to the Security Council by the agency [IAEA] and a member of the Security Council may just ask for the review of Iran’s dossier.

[Ahmadinezhad] Take it where?

[Qods daily reporter] To the Security Council based on the request of members. My question is that if they have such an intention and they can use this instrument against Iran why have they not taken Iran’s dossier to the Board of Governors yet?

[Ahmadinezhad] The dossier is at the Board of Governors.

[Qods daily reporter] I meant Security Council.

[Ahmadinezhad] Yes. The Board of Governors should review the dossier. However, the Security Council can also review the dossier directly. Since we have a clear logic and we act according to the law, we are not worried about other people’s behaviour. However, we are sorry for the world and nations that a number of countries want to have such a display of power and intend to adversely affect the world tranquillity.

We believe that we are pursuing a clear path. We are people of dialogue, logic and law. We are not interested in what they are accusing us of. But we know how to defend ourselves and our interests.

[QUESTION FOURTEEN]

[Moderator] BBC.

[Sadeq Sabah from the BBC] Mr Ahmadinezhad, you said today that Iran was not after making a nuclear bomb and you regarded against [Islamic] belief. I would like to ask why the Islamic Republic should not deem itself entitled to this right? Also, if the enemies of the Islamic Republic, assuming Israel, wish to attack Iran with nuclear weapons one day, why should Iran be unable to protect itself? Do developing long-range missiles not serve the same purpose as nuclear weapons, though their damage is limited? Thank you.

[Ahmadinezhad] Thank you. I did answer your question already. We think that humanity has reached a level where public opinion and will have become crucial, not atomic bombs. In fact atom bombs have no advantages for them. Instead it portrays their image as cruel and inhumane. According to our belief, all these [nuclear weapons] should be removed. Even if we were in charge of the world today, we would have removed these missiles also.

We think that humanity means rationale, knowledge, reasoning and dialogue. We need dialogue. What is this [word indistinct] competition! Now, I would like to ask you what position does the Qods occupying regime which [words indistinct] have? If only one question shakes its foundation, do we still need nuclear weapons! No, we do not. We only raised a question and that shook them and their supporters. Now imagine what will happen if we express our opinion? I do not think there is a need [for nuclear weapon]. Reason and logic are nowadays prevailing over the world. Those who invest in such projects waste their money unnecessarily.

[QUESTION EIGHTEEN]

[Moderator] Financial Times.

[FT correspondent] Is Iran enriching uranium in its research programme?

[Ahmadinezhad] Details of research work are defined and known for the whole world. There is nothing new.

[QUESTION NINETEEN]

[Moderator] Khorasan newspaper, followed by Al-Alam.

[Khorasan] Mr president! You recently criticized newspapers for reporting the activities of the government. For example, you told a group of students that the media was not supporting the activities of the government. Your parliamentary vice-president also made similar statements and even expressed criticism towards the Sound and Vision Organization. I would like to know who and which part of the media activity is the main subject of your criticism? What should they do in order to give the government support? Don’t you think that it would be right to criticize your government for failing to establish strong links with the country’s media in the past four months and nine days. [as heard] You either give an interview to the Central News Bureau or your excellency’s office issues a statement. The best example is today’s meeting where many newspapers have not been able to ask their question.

[Ahmadinezhad] In a press conference where 100 people are participating it is not possible for everyone to ask a question. It would take five hours.

[Correspondent] I am talking about communication with newspapers.

[Ahmadinezhad] We are going to the provinces every other week, we hold meetings, the ministers hold talks, the vice-presidents hold talks, let me tell you, we have a spokesman and you can ask questions every week. I think, gradually [voices in the background] Dr Elham please allow the foreigners to come in as they wish. I have told Mr Elham to organize it. [voices in the background] Mr Elham is Mr Yazdi’s boss. Mr Elham, please have a more lose arrangement for the weekly [meeting] so that everyone will be able to attend. It would not be a problem. Make it really lose. We welcome discussion. The question you ask I had heard before. They said Ahmadinezhad has criticized this. I had heard it before. Next question.

[QUESTION TWENTY]

[Al-Alam reporter speaking in Arabic] President Ahmadinezhad, greetings. President Ahmadinezhad. [swiching to Persian] I will ask my question in Persian.

[Ahmadinezhad] Ask your question in Persian. [everybody laughs] You pronounced Iran with a strong accent so I thought that you want to shift into Arabic language. Now you are also speaking Persian. Speaking Persian is an advantage for reporters because Persian is one of the most beautiful and lively languages of the world.

[Al-Alam reporter, continuing] What measures does Iran intend to take to implement its plan to investigate human rights’ violation in the West? My second question. You had a plan that those who perpetrated crimes against Jews should themselves compensate for what they have done. Do you intend to officially submit this plan to international organizations? Thank you.

[Ahmadinezhad] We will follow up this issue through various channels. One way is to refer it to the international organizations. However, you saw the reactions against my clear scientific and logical statement.

Concerning human rights, fortunately the Organization of the Islamic Conference, based on its approval, has assigned the Islamic Human Rights Committee to hold a meeting to discuss how to supervise human rights in all countries.

A committee has also been set up in our country. God willing, it will announce its programmes in near future. This committee will review human rights in target countries and will submit an annual report to the public opinion and international organizations.

[QUESTION TWENTY-ONE]

[Ahmadinezhad] Ok, let’s have another question in Arabic. I think this gentleman is very anxious.

[A female reporter complaining]

[Ahmadinezhad] Ok you can ask your question as well.

[Moderator] Mr President please let us know how much longer you would like to extend the time.

[Ahmadinezhad] Let’s extend the time four more minutes so I can attend my next meeting with 10 minutes delay.

[Reporter asks question in Arabic]

[Ahmadinezhad] You should translate what you said yourself, I will not put my earphones in because I heard you can speak Farsi.

[Reporter continues in Arabic] I would like to congratulate you on the occasions of Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Ghadir.

[Ahmadinezhad] Thank you.

[Reporter continues in Arabic and then switches to Farsi] In Bandar Abbas and in Minab city you stressed that in the near future the Iranian nation will have access to nuclear energy. Does this not mean that you intend to do more nuclear research in the near future and that you intend to carry out enrichment activities and produce nuclear fuel?

[Ahmadinezhad] Thank you. These concepts and phrases that you use each have clear legal implications according to the regulations of the Agency. The enrichment and research have clear meanings. We are in the process of research and God-willing we intend to continue our research activities in the future.

………………..

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